Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre, R Banumathi, Prafulla Chandra Pant and Uday Umesh Lalit assumed charge as Supreme Court judges on Wednesday, taking the apex court's strength to 30, including Chief Justice RM Lodha.
Justices Pant, 62, Sapre, 59, and Bhanumati, 58, were the Chief Justices of the Meghalaya High Court, Gauhati High Court and Jharkhand High Court. 58-year-old Justice Lalit, who was a senior advocate and in the panel recommended by the Supreme Court collegium, has been elevated as an apex court judge from the bar.
The sanctioned strength of judges in the apex court is 31, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The four judges were elevated to apex court and were administered the oath of office by CJI Lodha.
Justice Pant was appointed as the first Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court in September, 2013. He was born in Pithoragarh district of then undivided Uttar Pradesh and joined the UP Judicial Service in 1976 and held different posts. He became additional judge of the Uttarakhand High Court in June 2004 and a permanent Judge in February 2008.
Justice Sapre, who was born in Jabalpur, was sworn in as the chief justice of Gauhati High Court in October last year. He obtained his LLB degree from the university teaching department, Jabalpur and enrolled as an advocate in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in 1978.He has practised in civil, constitutional, taxation, company law and labour laws and was a standing counsel for the income tax department in MP High Court.
He was appointed as additional judge of the High Court of MP in 1999 and as permanent judge in 2001. He was transferred to Rajasthan High Court and has also functioned as a judge of Chhattisgarh High Court.
Justice Banumathi had joined Tamil Nadu Higher Judicial Service in 1988 as a direct recruit district judge and would have a seven-year tenure in the apex court. She has served at various posts in the subordinate judiciary before being made a judge of the Madras High Court in April 2003. With her appointment, now there are two woman judges in the apex court. She is the second woman sessions judge to rise to the country's highest court. Earlier, Justice Fathima Beevi, who started as a sessions judge in Kerala, had been promoted to the apex court in 1989.
Justice Lalit was designated as senior advocate by the Supreme Court on April 29, 2004. His strength as an advocate were his thoroughness with the case, patience in explaining legal questions and the sober demeanour in presenting the case before the bench.
Politicians to cine-stars facing prosecution had engaged him in different courts. He was appointed as special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case by the apex court.