New Delhi : The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud Friday recommended for elevation of Karnataka High Court's Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale, as a judge of the apex court.
The collegium also comprises justices Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, Surya Kant, and Aniruddha Bose. A vacancy arose after the retirement of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on December 25, 2023. The collegium said it decided to fill up the sole existing vacancy by recommending Justice Varale. Since the workload of judges has increased considerably, it has become necessary to ensure that the court has full working judge-strength at all times, it added.
Justice Prasanna B Varale was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of Bombay on 18 July 2008. He was elevated as Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka on 15 October 2022 and has been performing very well there. “Mr Justice Prasanna B Varale has acquired considerable experience as a Judge of the High Court of Bombay and as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka for more than a year. The judgments authored by him deal with a variety of issues in every field of law. He is a competent judge with unimpeachable conduct and integrity and has throughout maintained a high standard of professional ethics”, said the collegium, in a statement on January 19.
The collegium took note of the fact that Justice Varale is senior-most Judge belonging to a Scheduled Caste and the only Chief Justice belonging to a Scheduled Caste among the chief justices of high courts across the country. Justice Varale stood at serial number six in the combined all India seniority of high court Judges. In the seniority of Judges of the High Court of Bombay, he is the senior-most judge.
"The Supreme Court of India has operated almost throughout last year with full strength of thirty-four judges and, therefore, could achieve the distinction of recording an unprecedented rate of disposal by disposing of 52191 cases in the calendar year 2023," said the collegium.
The statement said after carefully evaluating the merit, integrity, and competence of eligible chief justices and senior puisne judges of the high courts and also accommodating a plurality of considerations, the collegium found Justice Varale to be a deserving and suitable candidate in all respects.
Before his elevation as a judge of the high court, justice Varale practised at the Bar for over 23 years in civil, criminal, labour, and administrative law matters in district and sessions court and in constitutional matters at the High Court Bench at Aurangabad.
In a separate resolution, the collegium recommended for appointment of Justice P S Dinesh Kumar, judge of Karnataka High Court as its Chief Justice upon the vacancy created on elevation of Justice Varale to the Supreme Court. Justice Kumar is superannuating on February 24, 2024.