Following the rule of seniority to appoint his successor, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recommended the name of Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde in a letter to the Centre. Justice Bobde is the seniormost judge in the Supreme Court after CJI Gogoi.
Conventionally, the outgoing Chief Justice sends the recommendation for his successor 30 days before he is to demit office, initiating the process of appointing the next CJI. With CJI Gogoi due to retire in a month, Justice Bobde is likely to assume office on November 18.
Justice Bobde will be the 47th Chief Justice of India, and the second from Maharashtra’s Nagpur region after former CJI Mohammad Hidayatullah.
Born in Nagpur in 1956, Justice Bobde comes from a family of lawyers. His father Arvind Shriniwas Bobde was a two-time advocate general of the Maharashtra government, and brother Vinod Bobde was a constitutional lawyer.
Justice Bobde was appointed an additional judge of the Bombay High Court in 2000, just two years after he was designated a senior advocate. He had a practice of over 21 years and was involved in several high-stakes cases including the Adarsh housing society case and the PIL against Lavasa Corporation Limited. He was sworn in as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2012 and elevated to the Supreme Court in 2013.
As CJI, Justice Bobde will have tenure of more than 17 months and is due to retire in April 2021.
As a Supreme Court judge, Justice Bobde has been part of benches in several important cases, including the one in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case and the nine-judge bench that declared the right to privacy to be a fundamental right in India in 2017. He is also part of the three-judge bench along with CJI Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman that is hearing the NRC case. The next hearing in the case is when Justice Bobde would be CJI.
Justice Bobde played a key role in settling differences between the four Supreme Court judges — Justices Gogoi, J Chelameswar, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph (now retired) — who held a press conference against then CJI Dipak Misra in January 2018.
Justice Bobde was also chosen by the full court to look into sexual harassment allegations against CJI Gogoi. He led a three-judge panel along with Justices Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra that gave the CJI a clean chit.