Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

Who Are Puisne Judges?


While recommending two names for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court, the Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India said in a statement that the collegium had taken into “consideration the seniority of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges.”


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What does puisne mean, and who are puisne judges?
  2. Is a “puisne judge” in India the same as in the UK?

What does puisne mean, and who are puisne judges?

  • According to the dictionary, the word puisne has French origins, which means “later born” or younger.
  • Puisne is almost always used in the context of judges, and essentially denotes seniority of rank.
  • The term puisne judge is used in common law countries to refer to judges who are ranked lower in seniority, i.e., any judge other than the Chief Justice of that court.
  • Common law is the body of law that is created by judges through their written opinions, rather than through statutes or constitutions (statutory law). Common law, which is used interchangeably with ‘case law’, is based on judicial precedent.
  • The United Kingdom (UK) and the Commonwealth countries, including India, are common law countries.

Is a “puisne judge” in India the same as in the UK?

United Kingdom:
  • In the UK, puisne judges are judges other than those holding distinct titles.
  • The Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1877 defined a “puisne judge” as any judge of the High Court besides the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of England, and the Master of the Rolls.
  • In India, all judges have the same judicial powers.
  • As the senior most judge of a court, the Chief Justice has an additional administrative role.
  • In India, there is a reference to a puisne judge only while considering the order of seniority for appointments, elevations to High Courts, etc., but it does not have a bearing on the exercise of a judge’s judicial power.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023