New Delhi | Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P B Varale was on Thursday administered the oath of office as a Supreme Court judge by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud here.
The swearing in function was held in the Supreme Court premises, a day after the Centre cleared his name for judgeship.
With the swearing in, the top court has attained its full strength of 34 judges, including the Chief Justice of India, and would for the first time have three sitting judges from the Dalit community. The other two sitting judges from the Scheduled Caste community are Justices B R Gavai and C T Ravikumar.
While recommending Justice Varale's name earlier this month, a five-judge SC Collegium headed by CJI Chandrachud said it took into consideration the fact that he is among the senior-most high court judges and is the only high court chief justice from the Scheduled Caste.
A vacancy arose in the apex court following the retirement of Justice S K Kaul on December 25 last year.
Justice Varale's appointment came within a week of the SC Collegium recommending his name.
"In exercise of powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Prasanna Bhalachandra Varale, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of India, with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office," a law ministry notification read.
While recommending Justice Varale's name, the collegium had observed that the Supreme Court had operated almost throughout last year with full strength of 34 judges and, therefore, could achieve the distinction of recording an unprecedented rate of disposal by disposing of 52,191 cases in the calendar year 2023.
"Bearing in mind that the workload of judges has increased considerably, it has become necessary to ensure that the court has full working judge-strength at all times. The Collegium has, therefore, decided to fill up the sole existing vacancy by recommending a name," it had noted.
Born on June 23, 1962, Justice Varale was appointed as a judge of the High Court of Bombay on July 18, 2008, and elevated as the chief justice of the High Court of Karnataka on October 15, 2022.
Justice Varale's elevation to the apex court would take the representation of Bombay High Court in the Supreme Court to four. The other three judges having the parent high court of Bombay are CJI Chandrachud, Justices Gavai and Abhay S Oka.