Seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, Justice T.S. Thakur, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, has been recommended to become the 43rd Chief Justice of India to succeed the current CJI H.L.
Seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, Justice T.S. Thakur, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, has been recommended to become the 43rd Chief Justice of India to succeed the current CJI H.L. Dattu, who retires on December 1.
The Union law ministry has received a communication from the CJI, recommending Justice Thakur’s name as the next Chief Justice of India from December 2.
Under the memorandum of procedure evolved under the collegium system, it is customary and a convention for the outgoing CJI to name the seniormost judge as his successor. There have been two attempts earlier to bypass the convention or “supersede” judges, after Independence. The first “supersession” was in 1973 involving three judges. The then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi appointed Justice A.N. Ray as the CJI, overlooking the three seniormost judges of the Supreme Court — Justices J.M. Shelat, A.N. Grover and K.S. Hegde.
The second and possibly most infamous supersession happened during the height of the Emergency, when Indira disapproved the dissenting judgment of Justice H.R. Khanna and Justice M.H. Beg was appointed as the CJI.
Following the Constitution bench striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission law as unconstitutional, the collegium system has been revived.
With the revival of the collegium, the outgoing CJI in recommending Justice Thakur has restored the seniority criterion for being appointed as the next CJI.
Sources said that the recommendation would be processed by the law ministry and the notification for appointment would be issued by the President Pranab Mukherjee within a week or 10 days after the approval of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Justice Thakur became a judge of J&K high court in February 1994 and transferred as Judge of the high court of Karnataka in March 1994. He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995. He was transferred as a judge of the high court of Delhi in July 2004; appointed as acting chief justice of Delhi high court on April 9, 2008 and took over as chief justice of the high court of Punjab and Haryana on August 11, 2008. Elevated as Judge of Supreme Court in November 2009. He will have a tenure of about 13 months as the CJI and retire on January 3, 2017.
During his tenure in the last six years, Justice Thakur has rendered several landmark judgments. He ordered a CBI probe into the multi-crore Sharada scam in West Bengal and Odhisa and this led to the investigating agency unearthing a huge scandal involving high profile personalities.
In the BCCI case, Justice Thakur was instrumental in preventing ICC Chairman N. Srinivasan from contesting for the post of President of BCCI. The court did not even allow him to participate in the meetings on the ground of conflict of interest as his company India Cements was the owner of the franchise Chennai Super Kings.