As Justice Prafulla Chandra Pant retired today, the strength of the Supreme Court has come down to 25 judges from 31 and one of the topmost priorities before newly-appointed Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra would be to fill up the six vacancies in the apex court.
The total strength of 31 judges in the apex court includes the Chief Justice himself. A Supreme Court judge retires at the age of 65 years.
A senior government functionary said that the Centre would await the recommendations of the Supreme Court collegium to fill up these vacancies.
While Justice J S Khehar had retired on Sunday as the Chief Justice of India, Justice Pant retires today. There are no retirements in the apex court this year.
In May last year, four judges were appointed to the top court. They were justices A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and senior lawyer and former Additional Solicitor General L Nageshwar Rao.
Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Bhushan were heading high courts before their elevation to the apex court. Rao was a member of the bar.
After Justice K G Balakrishnan retired as the CJI in May, 2010, there is no judge from the SC community in the apex court.
While so far no judge from the ST community has been appointed to the top court, Justice R Banumathi is the only woman judge in the apex court.