Judicial Appointments Conundrum Post-NJAC Verdict

[pib] Justice Ramana appointed as Chief Justice of India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Appointment and removal of SC Judge

Mains level : CJI Appointment

The President of India, in the exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, appointed Shri Justice NV Ramana, a Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the CJI.

Chief Justice of India

  • The CJI is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of India as well as the highest-ranking officer of the Indian federal judiciary.

Appointment

  • The Constitution of India grants power to the President to nominate, and with the advice and consent of the Parliament, appoint a chief justice, who serves until they reach the age of 65 or until removed by impeachment.
  • Earlier, it was a convention to appoint seniormost judges.
  • However, this has been broken twice. In 1973, Justice A. N. Ray was appointed superseding 3 senior judges.
  • Also, in 1977 Justice Mirza Hameedullah Beg was appointed as the chief justice superseding Justice Hans Raj Khanna.

Qualifications

The Indian Constitution says in Article 124 (3) that in order to be appointed as a judge in the Supreme Court of India, the person has to fit in the following criteria:

  • He/She is a citizen of India and
  • has been for at least five years a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession; or
  • has been for at least ten years an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession; or
  • is, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist

Functions

  • As head of the Supreme Court, the CJI is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law.
  • In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the chief justice allocates all work to the other judges.

On the administrative side, the CJI carries out the following functions:

  • maintenance of the roster; appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court

Try this PYQ:

Q. Who/Which of the following is the custodian of the Constitution of India?

(a) The President of India

(b) The Prime Minister of India

(c) The Lok Sabha Secretariat

(d) The Supreme Court of India

Removal

  • Article 124(4) of the Constitution lays down the procedure for removal of a judge of the Supreme Court which is applicable to chief justices as well.
  • Once appointed, the chief justice remains in the office until the age of 65 years. He can be removed only through a process of removal by Parliament as follows:
  • He/She can be removed by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present.
  • The voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.

About Justice Ramana

  • Justice Ramana will take over as 48th Chief Justice of India.
  • He is a first-generation lawyer, having an agricultural background, and hails from Ponnavaram Village, Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh.
  • He is an avid reader and literature enthusiast. He is passionate about Carnatic music.

His legal career

  • He was called on to the Bar on 10.02.1983.
  • Initially, he was appointed as a Permanent Judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court on 27.06.2000. He also functioned as Acting Chief Justice of his parent High Court from 10.3.2013 to 20.5.2013.
  • He practiced in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Central and Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunals, and the Supreme Court of India.
  • He specialized in Constitutional, Civil, Labour, Service, and Election matters. He has also practiced before Inter-State River Tribunals.
  • He served as Judge of the Supreme Court of India from 17.02.2014.
  • He has also served as the Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) since 27.11.2019.
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