New Chief Justice of India

Justice T S Thakur would succeed Justice H L Dattu as the next Chief Justice of India. Justice Thakur, the senior-most judge of the apex court, will take over as the CJI after Justice Dattu retires on December 2.

After the law ministry clears the file of Justice Thakur’s appointment, it would be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office.

His Warrant of Appointment will be issued when the President clears it. Justice Thakur would be the 43rd CJI.

Article 124 of the Constitution of India provides for the manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court.

Though no specific provision exists in the Constitution for appointing the Chief Justice, who, as a result, is appointed like the other judges conventionally, the outgoing CJI recommends the name of the senior-most judge (i.e. by date of appointment to the Supreme Court) for appointment by the President, as his successor.

Recently, the Supreme Court struck down the two Acts that created an independent body for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

One of the Acts amended the Constitution to replace the method of appointment of judges by a collegium system with that of an independent commission, called the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). The other Act laid down the processes in relation to such appointments.

Read – Supreme Court Strucks Down NJAC

Both Acts were passed by Parliament in August 2014, and received Presidential assent in December 2014. Following this, a batch of petitions that had been filed in Supreme Court challenging the two Bills on grounds of unconstitutionality, was referred to a five judge bench. It was contended that the presence of executive members in the NJAC violated the independence of the judiciary.

In its judgement, the Apex Court held that the executive involvement in appointment of judges impinges upon the independence of the judiciary. This violates the principle of separation of powers between the executive and judiciary, which is a basic feature of the Constitution.