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Supreme Court now has no Muslim Judge, a First in more than a Decade


A Muslim was lastly appointed to the SC Bench in the Year 2012.

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

After the retirement of two Muslim judges, Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, this year, the Supreme Court is now functioning without a Judge from the community.

Incidentally this is happening for the first time in 11 years, and only the second instance in nearly last three decades, that the Supreme Court has been without a Muslim Judge.

Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla retired this year — J. Eqbal on February 2 and J. Kalifulla on July 22.

Next Muslim judge’s appointment could be prolonged further due to the ongoing tussle between the Supreme Court and the Modi Government over the procedure for appointment of judges.

At present two High Courts have Muslim Chief Justices —Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari, Bihar’s CJ , a resident of Assam, retires next October while J. Mansoor Ahmad Mir Himachal’s CJ, a resident of J&K, retires in April 2017.

Age of retirement of a High Court Judge is 62, a Supreme Court Judge retires at 65.

The sanctioned maximum strength of  is 31 judges and currently has 28.

Four more SC judges will retire this year — they are Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Chockalingam Nagappan in October, thereafter  Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Anil R Dave in November.

Supreme Court of India not having a Muslim Judge is not a question of their rights being denied and it only relates to proper representation of all religions, castes and regions at the apex court.

In several countries, there is a legal mandate to ensure the proper representation of all regions, religions and communities at the Apex Court.

SC has till date 196 retired and 28 present justices out of which 17 have been Muslims.

Of them four become CJI — J. M Hidayatullah, J. M Hameedullah Beg, J. A M Ahmadi and J. Altamas Kabir.

The first woman judge of the Supreme Court was also a Muslim: Justice M Fathima Beevi, between 1989-1992.

Between December 2012 to April 2013 SC had as many as four Muslim Judges: CJI Altamas Kabir, Justice Aftab Alam, Justice Eqbal and Justice Kalifulla.

With inputs from Indian Express

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