Justices Maheshwari and Khanna were proposed for elevation by the Supreme Court Collegium on January 10 while the recommendations were approved and notified on January 16.They were administered the oath by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi.
The decision of the Collegium to propose the two Judges for elevation was not free from controversy. Various people, including sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court raised questions on the supersession of several other Senior Judges while recommending Justice Sanjiv Khanna’s name.
Former Judge of the Delhi High Court Justice Kailash Gambhir expressed his displeasure over the recommendations in a letter addressed to the President of India. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul also communicated his opinion against these recommendations to CJI Gogoi.
However, despite the controversy, the Central Government had acted swiftly and notified the appointments within a period of six days.
Justice Dinesh Maheshwari was the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court before being elevated to the Supreme Court. He began his career as an Advocate in 1981 where he practised largely in the area of Civil and Constitutional Law. Justice Maheshwari was appointed a judge of the Rajasthan High Court in 2004 and was transferred to Allahabad High Court after ten years, in 2014. In 2016, Justice Maheshwari was appointed Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court before taking over as the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court in 2018.
Justice Sanjiv Khanna began his practice 1983 in the areas of taxation, arbitration, commercial and environmental matters among other things. Justice Khanna was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court in 2005 and was made permanent judge one year later.
With the appointment of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, the working strength of the Supreme Court now stands at 28 as against the sanctioned strength of 31.