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Court Cuts: On SC's last day before long break, the 4 new judges hit the ground running with gusto

Have you ever had as productive a first day of work as these four new SC judges have?
Have you ever had as productive a first day of work as these four new SC judges have?

At 11:15 am today, on the last day of the current term before breaking up for the long summer holidays until 1 July, the Supreme Court began its proceedings.

It was 45 minutes behind its usual schedule.

The reason for the delay: the oath-taking ceremony for the four new judges appointed today.

As the ceremony wrapped up, speculation was rife whether the new judges would start hearing cases on their very first day of work already, because their names were missing from the day's cause-list - both from the final and first supplementary cause lists.

Then, however, their names, appeared in the second supplementary cause-list.

Speculation was soon put to rest, with the four judges joining the benches from courts 1 to 4.

And they joined in numerical order, as if there was no choice left to them but follow the unwritten convention of the court: the senior-most of the four judges, in terms of their initial date of appointment to the judiciary, joined court number one, followed by the second senior-most in court number two, and so on.

And so, soon after the delivery of judgments by some benches, as shown in the cause-list, there was a short hiatus, and the new judges could be seen sitting along with their new brother judges, hearing cases.

Justice AM Khanwilkar was seated with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur and Justice R Banumathi in the first court.

Justice DY Chandrachud sat with justices Anil R Dave and AK Goel in court 2.

Justice Ashok Bhushan sat in court 3 with justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan.

And of course, the informal but long-traditional seniority pecking order between the direct appointees from high courts and the one from the bar was also clear, with the recruit from the bar, Justice L Nageswara Rao being placed in court number 4, with justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh.

All four new judges were observed frequently smiling on their first day of their new jobs, and making a few observations while hearing cases.

They all appeared to be very attentive to the proceedings.

Chandrachud was seen to be reading case files without being distracted by the proceedings for a while, to familiarise himself with the background.

But soon, he joined Justice Dave in sharing a few laughs, leaving lawyers and litigants amused.

Meanwhile, the older presiding judges of the four benches frequently made it a point to turn to the new recruits, to keep them at ease, and discuss with them some points arising from the cases being heard.

The third judge on each of those benches, simply wondered what was going on, perhaps feeling a tad ignored.

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