The 49th Chief Justice of India
Why is it the news?
Justice U.U Lalith was appointed as the 49th chief justice of India by President Draupadi Murmu in August 2022.
Justice U.U.Lalit will have a short period of over three months, with his retirement scheduled for November 8, 2022. Lalith is the second Chief Justice of India(CJI) to have been appointed directly from the Bar council without serving as a judge in any state's high court.
The Chief Justice of India is the highest judicial post in India. Justice N V Ramana was succeeded by Justice UU Lalit and appointed the 49th Chief Justice of India. Here, we discuss the appointment, qualifications, and removal of CJI.
This is a very important article for candidates who are attempting the WBCS Exam or any other government exam in West Bengal.
Chief Justice of India- Qualifications
Apart from being an Indian citizen, They must satisfy the following criteria.
- (a) He /She has served as a Judge of a High Court for at least five years.
- (b) He /She has served for at least ten years as an advocate of the High Court in any state.
- (c) In the opinion of the President, He/ She must be a distinguished jurist.
Appointment of Chief Justice of India
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) and other judges of the SC are appointed by the President of India under Article 124 of the Indian Constitution. Article 124 describes that appointment by the President is to be done after the consultation with the judges of the supreme court (SC) of India.
Article 217: deals with the appointment of judges in the High court. The President of India also did it after consulting with the Governor of State, CJI and Chief Justice of the State High Court. Further, the tenure of a Chief justice of India is until they attain the age of 65 years, while judges of the High Court retire at 62 years.
System of appointing Chief Justice of India and Other Judges
A collegium system is used to appoint CJIs, senior-most judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The term "collegium" is not mentioned anywhere in the constitution, which describes consultation by the President. The background inquiry was made by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) at times from the names first suggested for appointment by the collegium. At the same time, the government can also raise objections against the names suggested by the collegium.
With subsequent cases and judgements, this changed. The Supreme Court had issued some guidelines or criteria for appointments and transfers of the high court and supreme court judges.
The collegium for the appointment of supreme court judges consists of 4 senior-most judges of the Supreme court.
The collegium system for the appointment of high court judges consists of 2 senior-most judges of the Supreme court.
The collegium for the transfer of high court judges consists of four senior-most judges of the Supreme court (SC) along with the judges of the two High Courts.
Criticism of the collegium system
The main issue dealing with the collegium system is the lack of transparency. The old report of the Law Commission of India (LCI), submitted in 2009, pointed out the possibilities of nepotism prevailing in the appointment of judges and stated that A person whose near relation or well-wisher of government is or had been a judge in the higher courts or is a senior advocate or is a political higher-up, should get a better chance of elevation."
Removal Procedure of Chief Justice of India
Article 124 (4) of the Indian constitution deals with the removal procedure of the Chief Justice of India. The CJI or any judge of the Supreme Court( SC) cannot be removed from his office except by order of the President of India after passing a resolution at the each House of Parliament supported by a majority of members of each house that majority should not be less than 2/3 of the total members of each house present and voting". Normally removal of CJI was associated on the grounds of proven incapacity or misbehaviour. This removal procedure is very much similar to the impeachment of the President of India.
Powers of Chief Justice of India
- The President has to consult the CJI while appointing judges to the supreme court and high court. The CJI leads the collegium system that decides the appointment of judges to the supreme court and high court. The Collegium system also includes 4 senior-most judges of the supreme court.
- He/ She is responsible for allocating the cases and appointing constitutional and judicial benches. Hence, he is called the 'master of the roster.
- The President of India swore the oath in the presence of the chief justice of India.
- When the office of the President and Vice President of India are both vacant, the CJI acts as the President of India.
- He / She shares the sixth position with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in the order of precedence.
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