The Supreme Court is all set to regain its full strength of 34 judges with the apex court collegium headed by CJI N V Ramana recommending names of the Chief Justice of Gauhati high court Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Gujarat high court judge Justice Jamshed B Pardiwala for elevation to the apex court, sources said.
Justice Pardiwala would go on to become the CJI for over two years if the recommendation is accepted by the Centre, they said.
Justice Dhulia, who will be the second judge to be elevated from the Uttarakhand high court, is the sibling of national award-winning film director and actor Tigmanshu Dhulia and would have a tenure of little over three years.
While Justice Pardiwala will be the fourth one from the Parsi community to adorn the top court bench and the first high court judge from the minority community who has been elevated in the last five years after Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
Justice Nazeer was elevated to Supreme Court in February 2017.
With the retirement of Justice R Subhash Reddy on January 4 this year, the total strength of apex court judges had come down to 32 against the sanctioned strength of 34, and now with the fresh recommendation, if acted upon, will ensure full strength in the top court.
Justice Dhulia, born on August 10, 1960, hails from Madanpur, a remote village located in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, and joined the bar at the Allahabad high court in 1986.
Justice Pardiwala, born on August 12, started practising law in the high court of Gujarat in the year 1990.
The collegium, which consists of CJI Ramana and Justices U U Lalit, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, and L Nageswara Rao, reached the decision in its recent deliberations, the sources said.
The CJI, who himself will demit office on August 26 this year, has been successful in evolving consensus in the five-judge collegium to unanimously recommend a record number of 11 names so far, since August last year.
The apex court, which did not get a single judge after the superannuation of the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi on November 17, 2019, had nine existing vacancies when CJI Ramana had taken over and the high courts had around 600 vacancies.
The collegium then ensured the filling up of nine vacancies in the Supreme Court in August last year in one go and Justice B V Nagarathna, one of three women judges, would become the first woman CJI.
Besides, the collegium of the top three judges so far recommended 180 names for appointment as judges of various high courts.
The year 2022 is going to be the second year since the inception of the top court in 1950 which will see three different CJIs in as many months.
The incumbent CJI, who will demit office on August 26, will be succeeded by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit who will have a tenure of a little over two months.
Justice Lalit's retirement in November will pave the way for Justice D Y Chandrachud to take over as head of the judiciary for a term of a little over two years.
As per records, Justice Dhulia hails from Madanpur, a remote village located in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, and his paternal grandfather Bhairav Dutt Dhulia was a freedom-fighter and had even served a jail term for his participation in the Quit India Movement.
Justice Dhulia, an alumnus of Sainik School, Lucknow, did his graduation and law from the University of Allahabad.
He was the first chief standing counsel in the high court of Uttarakhand and was later an additional advocate general and was elevated as judge in the same high court in November 2008.
He later became the chief justice of the high court of Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh on January 10, 2021.
Justice Pardiwala did his schooling in St Joseph Convent School in his hometown Valsad in South Gujarat and graduated from the J P Arts College there.
He is a fourth-generation legal professional in the family of lawyers and was elected as a member of the Bar Council of Gujarat in the year 1994.
He was appointed as the standing counsel for the high court of Gujarat in the year 2002 and held office till the date of his elevation to the bench on February 17, 2011.