New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind Wednesday appointed Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, judge of Delhi High Court, to be judges of the Supreme Court of India with effect from the date they both assumed charge of their office.

Amid questions over the appointment by the legal community, the recommendation by the Supreme Court Collegium was signed off by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday evening.

Last year in December, the collegium, which comprises the top five judges of the Supreme Court, decided to recommend Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice Rajendra Menon and Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog but the decision was reversed in January this year, with the collegium naming Justice Maheshwari and Justice Sanjeev Khanna of the Delhi High Court.

On Wednesday, the Bar Council also protested against the decision. “Our delegation will go and meet the collegium to ask them to reconsider and recall this decision. If they don’t do it, we’ll go and sit on a dharna,” said Bar Council chairman MK Mishra.

Mishra said that there is strong resentment among several judges as names of Justice Menon and Justice Nandrajog were recommended in December 2018 and suddenly collegium has taken a u-turn within a period of 20-25 days.

Retired Delhi High Court Judge Justice Kailash Gambhir also questioned the decision of the collegium to elevate the Delhi High Court judge and chief justice of Karnataka High Court by superseding three seniors, terming it as an earth-shaking move which will send a wrong signal.

Gambhir said, “In a sense, you are superseding 3 senior judges of the Delhi High Court. There is a supersession of 32 judges if we see the all India seniority.”

The decision of the collegium, comprising Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde, NV Ramana and Arun Mishra, was made public on the apex court’s website on January 11. The top court, which has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges, is presently functioning with 26 judges.