Chief Justice of India
|Chief Justice of India|
Emblem of the Supreme Court of India
|Residence||New Delhi, India|
|Appointer||Incumbent President Of India|
|Inaugural holder||H. J. Kania|
|Salary||100000 (US$1,500) monthly
w.e.f. 1 January 20061
|Website||Supreme Court of India|
The Chief Justice of India (Hindi: भारत के मुख्य न्यायाधीश2) is the highest-ranking judge in the Supreme Court of India, and thus holds the highest judicial position in India. As well as presiding in the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice also heads its administrative functions.
As the chief judge, the Chief Justice 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 of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the Chief Justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a bench of higher strength.
On the administrative side, the Chief Justice carries out the following functions:
- Maintenance of the roster;
- Appointment of court officials;
- General and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.
Article 124 of the Constitution of India provides for the manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court. However, no specific provision is made as to the appointment of the Chief Justice; as a result, the Chief Justice is appointed in the same manner as for the other judges to the Supreme Court.3
Generally, the most senior (i.e. earliest appointed) judge in the Supreme Court is appointed by the President. However, this convention has been breached on a number of occasions, most notably during the premiership of Indira Gandhi, who appointed A.N. Ray despite three judges being more senior than him. It has been alleged that Ray was appointed because he was considered to be a supporter of Gandhi's government, during a time when her government was becoming increasingly mired in a political and constitutional crisis.4
In the aftermath of The Emergency, the Supreme Court in a series of landmark decisions asserted its position and independence. In one such case in the constitutional bench, the case of S.P. Gupta — II, the Court declared that the Government of India would be bound to nominate only the most senior judge of the Supreme Court for the position of Chief Justice, thereby removing a potential source for Government influence over the judiciary. Since then, the convention has been followed without exception.
I, name, having been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws.
— Constitution of India, Third Schedule, Part IV
Article 124(4) of Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a Judge of Supreme Court which is applicable to Chief Justice as well. Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in office until his retirement age of 65 years or death. He can be removed only through a process of impeachment by Parliament as follows:
A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except 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 and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
— Article 124(4), Constitution of India , Source:3
The constitution of India provides that the Chief Justice of India shall act as the President of India in the event of the offices of both the President and the Vice President being vacant. When President Zakir Hussain died in office, the Vice President VV Giri, acted as the President. However, Mr. Giri resigned as the Vice President. Then the Chief Justice Hidayatullah became the acting President of India. The most senior judge of the Supreme Court became the acting Chief Justice of India. When the newly elected President took office a month later, Justice Hidayatullah again became the Chief Justice of India.
The Constitution of India gives the power of deciding remuneration as well as other conditions of service of the Chief Justice to the Parliament of India. Accordingly, such provisions have been laid down in The Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.15
|1 January 1996||33000 (US$500)5|
|1 January 2006||100000 (US$1,500)1|
- "The High Court and Supreme Court Judges Salaries and Conditions of Service Amendment Bill 2008". PRS India.
- "राजनीति से स्वतंत्र रहे न्यायपालिका : भारत के मुख्य न्यायाधीश". A. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Article 124, Constitution of India". Vakilno1.com. Archived from the original on 26 Dec 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act 1958". Ministry of Home Affairs, India. Archived from the original on 4 Jan 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
|Order of precedence|
Former Presidents and Deputy Prime Minister
|Chief Justice of India
with Speaker of Lok Sabha