Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice KM Joseph sworn in as judges of the Supreme Court on Tuesday in order of seniority notified by the Centre.

The swearing-in ceremony started at 10.30 am in the CJI’s courtroom and Justice Banerjee was the first to take oath followed by Justice Saran and Justice Joseph.

The oath was administered to the three judges by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in a packed courtroom in the presence of all judges, law officers and advocates, according to a PTI report.

With the three appointments, the total strength of judges in the apex court has now gone up to 25 against the sanctioned strength of 31.

While Justice Banerjee was the chief justice of Madras High Court, Justice Saran and Justice Joseph were chief justices of Orissa and Uttarakhand high courts, respectively.

The swearing-in took place amid a raging controversy over the government relegating Justice Joseph to the third position in the order of seniority even though he was recommended for elevation way back on January 10, 2018.

His recommendation was reiterated on July 17 after the government had returned it for reconsideration by the Supreme Court collegium.

It is for the first time that the Supreme Court has three sitting woman judges — Justice R. Banumathi, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee.

Justice Banerjee is the seventh woman judge of the Supreme Court, first being Justice Fatima Beevi, followed by Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Ranjana Desai, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, Justice R Banumathi and Justice Indu Malhotra.

(With agency inputs)