Average Tenure of Judges elevated from the Bar is 6.04 years
The average tenure of a Supreme Court Judge elevated from the Bar is 6 years and 14 days.
Article 124 (3) of the Indian Constitution prescribes that an advocate of the High Court practicing for 10 years is qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court Justice. Judges who are elevated directly from their legal practice are said to have been elevated from the Bar.
Of the 27 judges currently sitting in the Supreme Court, 3 have been directly elevated from the Bar. Those being Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Nageswara Rao. The recently retired (March 13th, 2021) Justice Indu Malhotra was also elevated directly from the bar.
In its history the Supreme Court has seen 8 judges elevated directly from the Bar. The same number of judges have been elevated from the bar since 2014, as had been in the 64 years leading up to 2014 since the court’s inception. This rise in the number of elevations directly from the Bar began with the appointment of Justice Rohinton Nariman in 2014.
The first judge to be elevated directly from the Bar was Justice S.M. Sikri who was appointed on the 22nd of January, 1971. Justice Santhosh Hegde was elevated to the Supreme Court on 8th January, 1999. Justice Hegde’s elevation marked a pause in elevations from the Bar for more than 15 years, until the elevation of Justice Nariman on 7th July, 2014.
The average tenure of a Supreme Court Judge elevated from the Bar is 2204.5 days (6 years and 14 days). This includes the tenure of Justice S.C. Roy, who passed away 146 days into his tenure. Justice S.C Roy was projected to retire on the 5th of May, 1977 having served for 2141 days (5 years and 315 days). Justice U.U. Lalit will become the first judge elevated from the Bar to become CJI, and is scheduled to take up the position on 27th August, 2022.