President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday appointed Prashant Kumar Mishra, the chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, as a judge of the Supreme Court.
The President also appointed senior advocate Kalpathy Venkataraman Viswanathan as a judge of the Supreme Court.
The appointments were announced by new Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Twitter.
With the retirements of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice M R Shah, the current strength of judges in the Supreme Court had fallen to 32 as against the sanctioned strength of 34.
Both Mishra and Viswanathan are scheduled to take the oath of office on Friday, which will take the strength of judges in the top court to 34.
Viswanathan could be the Chief Justice of India in 2030 following seven other judges in line after Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud.
The appointment of the two new judges has taken place within 48 hours of their recommendation by the Supreme Court Collegium.
Viswanthan will join the elite list of lawyers who went on to become the CJI after being directly elevated to the top court bench from the Bar.
Justice S M Sikri was the first CJI, who was directly elevated to the top court bench from the Bar. Justice U U Lalit was second in the list.
Sitting top court judge Justice P S Narasimha will become the third CJI to be directly elevated from the Bar.
Born on May 26, 1966, Viswanathan, upon his appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court, would serve till May 25, 2031.
“On the retirement of Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala on August 11, 2030, Viswanathan would be in line to assume office as the Chief Justice of India till his retirement on May 25, 2031,” the Collegium said in its recommendation on Tuesday.
The recommendation said at present, there is only one member (Justice P S Narasimha) from the Bar directly appointed to the Supreme Court bench.
It noted the Collegium also considered the names of eminent members of the Bar and zeroed upon senior advocate Viswanathan, saying he is “eminently suitable for being appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court”. “The appointment of K V Viswanathan will enhance the representation to the Bar in the composition of the Supreme Court. Viswanathan is a distinguished member of the Bar of the Supreme Court. His wide experience and profound knowledge will provide a significant value addition to the Supreme Court,” the resolution said.
It said Viswanathan had completed the five-year integrated law degree from Coimbatore Law College, Bharathiyar University, and enrolled with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1988.
The resolution said after practising before the Supreme court for over two decades, Viswanathan was designated as a senior advocate in 2009.
It said Viswanathan has appeared in a wide range of cases on diverse subjects including Constitutional law, criminal law, commercial law, the law of Insolvency, and arbitration.
“His stature as an eminent member of the Bar has been recognised by the Supreme Court in numerous cases where he was appointed to assist the Court as amicus curiae,” it said, adding that Viswanathan has a sound understanding of law and is known in the legal fraternity for his integrity and as an upright senior member of the Bar.
During the recent hearings in the Supreme court on a batch of pleas seeking legal validation for same-sex marriage, Viswanathan had argued before a five-judge Constitution bench for one of the petitioners.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)