New Delhi: The government has returned the names of two high court chief justices to the collegium for elevation to the post as judges of the Supreme Court, stated sources. The two high court chief justices are Aniruddha Bose of Jharkhand and AS Bopanna of Gauhati. Their names were recommended by the Supreme Court collegium on April 12 for elevation to the top court. Sources added that seniority and representation of regions were cited as the reasons behind the government’s decision.

The parent high court of Justice Aniruddha Bose is Calcutta and he is at number 12 in all-India seniority of judges. Justice Bopanna, on the other hand, stands at number 36. Bopanna’s parent high court is Karnataka.

Last year, the government had returned Justice Bose’s name to the collegium when he was recommended to head the Delhi high court. “While recommending the names of Mr Justices Aniruddha Bose and AS Bopanna, the collegium has taken into consideration, apart from their merit and integrity, combined seniority on the all-India basis of chief justices and senior puisne judges of high courts.

“The collegium has also kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the high courts,” the collegium resolution had read. The Calcutta High Court is represented in the Supreme Court by Justice Indira Banerjee. Justices SM Mallikarjnagouda and S Abdul Nazeer represent the Karnataka HC. At present, the Supreme Court has a working strength of 27. Its sanctioned strength is 31 judges, including the chief justice.

Meanwhile, in the month of February this year, a collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had proposed the transfer of justices M V Muralidharan, Munishwar Nath Bhandari, Justice T B Radhakrishnan and S Venkatanarayana Bhatti to the Manipur, Allahabad, Calcutta and Kerala high courts respectively in the interest of “better administration of justice”.

The collegium had recommended transfer of Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari from Rajasthan High Court to Allahabad High Court and Justice Justice T B Radhakrishnan, Chief Justice, Telangana High Court to Calcutta High Court. Notably, Justice S Venkatanarayana Bhatti was posted as a Judge at Andhra Pradesh High Court and was transferred to Kerala High Court by the collegium.

(With agency inputs)