The Karnataka State’s legal fraternity has come up against an unexpected development, with two of its judges being elevated to the Supreme Court by “superseding” the two senior-most judges.

Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, who is at present the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court and second senior most among judges from High Court of Karnataka, and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, who is fourth in seniority, have been appointed judges of the Supreme Court.

Also, Mr. Nazeer is the first, after 1997, from the High Court of Karnataka to be appointed directly to the Supreme Court without being first elevated to the post of either a Chief Justice or an acting Chief Justice of a High Court.

It was the collegium of the apex court that chose to “supersede” the two senior judges, and this has been accepted by both the Ministry of Law and President of India.

Going against the previous practice
Though seniority was not a criterion for elevation to the apex court prior to 1990, the majority of elevations made post 1990 were based on seniority of judges.