Ground Report | New Delhi: How many Top court judges are Muslim in India; In the 1950s Jawaharlal Nehru tried to appoint Justice Mohammad Karim Chagla (Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court 1947–58) as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as he wanted a Muslim Chief Justice of India. However, it took until 1968 for India to have a Muslim Chief Justice.
SU had only 4 Muslim chief justices till now
According to a 2016 report, since independence, the Supreme Court has had only four (43, or 9.3 percent) Muslim chief justices, the last being Justice Altamas Kabir who retired in 2012, and 10 (out of 154, or 6.5 percent) judges.
Before Justice Kabir, AM Ahmadi served as CJI between 1994 and 1997. And before Justice Ahmadi, Mirza Hamidullah Baig (January 1977 to February 1978) and Mohammad Hidayatullah (February 1968 to December 1970) were appointed CJIs.
Statistically speaking, in the 1950s, one of the first six appointed judges of the Supreme Court was Muslim, which is approximately 16.67%. In 1978, two out of 16 (13%) were Muslims. In 1986, one in 14 was a Muslim. In 2009, 2 out of 26 were Muslims or 8 percent. Since 2019, one in 34 has been a Muslim, which is around 3%.
Of the 219 retired and 27 sitting judges serving in the Supreme Court, 18, or 6.75%, are Muslims.
How many Top court judges are Muslim in India
The Supreme Court has had many illustrious Muslim judges since its inception and has delivered thousands of landmark judgments that have enriched the discourse of justice and legal scholarship. Among them, four judges, namely Justice M. Hidayatullah, M.H. Baig, A.M. Ahmadi, and Altamas Kabir graced the post of Chief Justice of India. Justice Hidayatullah held all three high constitutional posts – Chief Justice of India, Vice President, and Acting President of India.
Other Muslim judges of the Supreme Court were: Syed Fazal Ali, Ghulam Hassan, Syed Jafar Imam, Syed Murtaza Fazal Ali, Baharul Islam, V Khalid, Fatima Bibi, Faizan Uddin, S Sagir Ahmed, S.S.M. Qadri, Aftab Alam, M.Y. Iqbal, and F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla. At present, Justice Abdul Nazeer is the only Muslim judge in the Supreme Court.
At present, Justice Abdul Nazeer is the only Muslim judge in the apex court. In addition, two High Courts today have Muslim Chief Justice – Justice Kureshi in Tripura and Justice Mohammad Rafiq in Madhya Pradesh.