The Indian Express profiles the four judges who have raised issues about CJI administrative functions.
Justice Jasti Chelameswar
Retires June 22, 2018
Designated as senior counsel in 1995, he was appointed additional advocate general on October 13, 1995, and elevated as additional judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 23, 1997. He was made permanent from May 17, 1999. On May 3, 2007, he was appointed Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, and transferred to Kerala High Court where he assumed charge as Chief Justice on March 17, 2010. He was appointed judge of the Supreme Court on October 10, 2011 and is due to retire on June 22, 2018.
Known for his strong views, Justice Chelameswar sent a unprecedented letter to then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur in September 2016, saying he would not attend collegium meetings and was concerned over its lack of transparency. In October 2015, he had been the lone dissenting judge on a bench of five that struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and restored the collegium system of appointments.
Recently though, he reversed his decision not to attend collegium meetings after the Supreme Court decided to upload the recommendations on its official website.
Justice Chelameswar led a three-judge SC bench which in March 2015 directed the Centre and states to make sure people are not denied any service or benefit for not having an Aadhaar card, and added those not complying with its order will be “taken to task”.
He also headed the bench which in March 2015 struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act as “draconian” saying it “arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately” invaded the right of free speech, right to dissent, right to know, and had a “chilling effect” on constitutional mandates.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, 63
Retires November 17, 2019
Son of former Assam chief minister Keshab Chandra Gogoi, Justice Gogoi joined the bar in 1978. He practised mainly in the Gauhati High Court where he was appointed permanent judge on February 28, 2001. He was transferred to Punjab & Haryana High Court on September 9, 2010, and appointed Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court in February 2011. Justice Gogoi was elevated as Supreme Court judge on April 23, 2012, and will retire on November 17, 2019.
He is in line to succeed Justice Dipak Misra as Chief Justice of India when the latter retires in October 2018.
Justice Gogoi headed the bench that recently ordered constitution of special courts to exclusively try criminal cases involving politicians. He is hearing a plea seeking lifetime ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections. In another landmark verdict, he, along with Justice N V Ramana, held that women can be manager of joint family. A bench headed by Justice Gogoi is also monitoring the case of illegal immigrants in Assam including the publication and updating of the National Register of Citizens.
Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur
Retires December 2018
Enrolled as an advocate on July 28, 1977, he practised in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court and became advocate-on-record in the Supreme Court in 1981. He was designated senior advocate in February 1997 and appointed Additional Solicitor General of India on July 14, 1998, and continued in the post until his appointment as additional judge of Delhi High Court on February 19, 1999. He served as Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court from June 2010 to November 2011 and Chief Justice of High Court of Andhra Pradesh from November 2011 to June 2012. Justice Lokur was appointed Supreme Court judge on June 4, 2012 and will retire in December this year.
In October 2017, a bench headed by Justice Lokur had held that sex with wife below the age of 18 amounts to rape. The bench has also sought a comprehensive plan from the Uttar Pradesh government for long term protection of Taj Mahal. The bench headed by him also deals with environment matters including air pollution issues in the National Capital Region and clampdown on unauthorised establishments in Delhi. He passed orders on social issues relating to prison reforms and has been appointed as a one-man committee to suggest improvements in working of the homes and organisations under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection and Children) Act, 2000 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007.
Justice Kurian Joseph
Retires November 29, 2018
He began legal practice in 1979 in Kerala High Court and was appointed government pleader in 1987. He served as additional advocate general from 1994-96 and was designated senior advocate in 1996. Elevated as Kerala High Court judge on July 12, 2000, he served twice as acting Chief Justice in Kerala and went on to serve as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court from February 8, 2010, to March 7, 2013. He was elevated to Supreme Court judge on March 8, 2013, and is due to retire on November 29 this year.
A bench of Justices Joseph and Lokur is hearing the case of alleged coal blocks allocation scam. Justice Joseph was also part of the bench that overruled the famous Afsan Guru decision on the point of admissibility of electronic evidence. In April 2004, Justice Joseph fund himself in the midst of a controversy after he wrote to the then Chief Justice expressing his displeasure over the holding of an All India Chief Justices Conference on Good Friday. Justice Joseph was part of the five-judge bench which quashed the NJAC Act in October 2015.