Justice B.V. Nagarathna, former Karnataka High Court Judge, to become India’s first woman Chief Justice in 2027
New Delhi: Nine new Supreme Court (SC) Judges, including three women, were administered their oaths of office by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana this morning.
This is the first time in the history of India’s highest Court that nine Judges have been sworn-in at one time. The ceremony was held in the Court Complex’s auditorium building to ensure social distancing and adherence to COVID protocols; traditionally it is administered in the Chief Justice’s Court Room.
The new Judges include Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka (former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court), Justice Vikram Nath (former Chief Justice of Gujarat HC), Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari (former Chief Justice of Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh HCs) and Justice Hima Kohli (former Chief Justice of Telangana HC).
Justice B.V. Nagarathna (former Karnataka HC Judge) was also sworn-in. The daughter of former Chief Justice E.S. Venkataramiah, Justice Nagarathna will become India’s first woman Chief Justice in 2027. However, she is likely to have a tenure of only one month.
The other new Judges are Justice C.T. Ravikumar (former Kerala HC Judge), Justice M.M. Sundresh (former Madras HC Judge), Justice Bela M. Trivedi (former Gujarat HC Judge) and Justice P.S. Narasimha (senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General).
Aside from Justice Nagarathna, two others are also in line to become Chief Justice, per seniority levels. They are Justice Vikram Nath, who will hold the post between February and September 2027, and Justice P.S. Narasimha, who will be Chief Justice from October 2027 to May 2028.
The appointment of Justice Nagarathna, Justice Kohli and Justice Trivedi will, it is hoped, reverse a worrying trend in the country’s top court — very few women have been sworn-in as a Judge of the SC since its inception. Over the last seven decades only eight have been named, starting with M. Fathima Beevi in 1989.
At present, Justice Indira Banerjee is the lone woman Judge; she was elevated on August 7, 2018, from the Madras HC where she was serving as the Chief Justice.