Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde takes oath as next CJI

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News:Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde has taken oath as the 47th Chief Justice of India (CJI) by the President.

Facts:

About Chief Justice of India:

  • The chief justice of India(CJI) is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India.The CJI also heads their administrative functions.
  • As head of the supreme court,the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law.
  • On the administrative side,the chief justice carries out the following functions (a)maintenance of the roster (b)appointment of court officials and (c)general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.

Constitution on the appointment of CJI:

  • The Constitution of India does not have any provision for criteria and procedure for appointing the CJI. 
  • Article 124(1) of the Indian Constitution says there shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a Chief Justice of India.
  • The closest mention is in Article 126 which deals with the appointment of an acting CJI.In the absence of a constitutional provision,the procedure relies on custom and convention.

What is the convention?

  • When the incumbent CJI retires (all Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65), the senior most judge in the SC becomes the CJI. 
  • But Seniority is not defined by age but by the number of years an individual has been serving as a judge of the apec court.
  • However this convention has been broken twice.In 1973,Justice A. N. Ray was appointed superseding 3 senior judges. 
  • Also,in 1975 Justice Mirza Hameedullah Beg was appointed as the CJI superseding Justice Hans Raj Khanna.

Procedure for appointing CJI:The procedure to appoint the next CJI is laid out in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) between the government and the judiciary:

  • The procedure is initiated by the Law Minister seeking recommendation of the outgoing CJI at the appropriate time which is near to the date of retirement of the incumbent CJI.
  • The CJI sends his recommendation to the Law Ministry and in the case of any qualms,the CJI can consult the collegium regarding the fitness of a SC judge to be elevated to the post.
  • After receiving recommendations from the CJI,the law minister forwards it to the Prime Minister who then advises the President on the same.
  • The President administers the oath of office to the new CJI.