Since 2018, how many times have SC elevations been withdrawn?
Deferral and withdrawal of Supreme Court elevations in light of overall conversion rate.
On May 8th 2019, the Collegium recommended 4 judges for elevation to the Supreme Court. If all four are elevated to the Supreme Court, it will be operating at its current sanctioned strength of 31 judges for the first time. The Collegium comprises the CJI and four other senior most Supreme Court Justices. One of its main functions is to recommend judges for elevation to the Supreme Court.
So how likely is it that all 4 judges are elevated? Considering the fate of the last 10 judges who were recommended, it appears highly likely that all 4 judges will be elevated. None of the last ten 10 judges who were recommended, had their names subsequently withdrawn. KM Joseph J’s elevation was deferred for half-a-year, however he was also eventually elevated.
Last 10 judges who were recommended for elevation (in order of seniority):
- Indu Malhotra
- Indira Banerjee
- Vineet Saran
- KM Joseph
- Hemant Gupta
- R Subhash Reddy
- Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah
- Ajay Rastogi
- Dinesh Maheshwari
- Sanjiv Khanna
Notably, this 100% ‘conversion rate’ in Supreme Court elevation contrasts quite starkly with the overall conversion rate, which also takes into account elevations to the High Courts. According Deepika Kinhal’s research, the overall conversion rate is roughly 55% (she studied a sample of 80 Collegium resolutions made public since October 2017). In other words, 45% of Collegium resolutions recommending judges for elevation are subsequently remitted.
Note that 2 of the 4 recommended judges are guaranteed to be elevated: Justices Aniruddha Bose and AS Bopanna. The Centre initially asked the Collegium to reconsider. However, the Collegium reiterated its recommendation. Once the Collegium sends the names of judges to the Centre a second time, the Collegium’s recommendation becomes binding on the Centre. At this point, the Centre may only decide when the judge is elevated.
Data sourced from the official Supreme Court of India website