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Chief Justice UU Lalit names Justice Chandrachud, most senior judge, as successor

If approved by the government, Justice Chandrachud will have a tenure of two years as CJI. His father, Y V Chandrachud, too served as the CJI and had a stint of over 7 years.

Justice Dhananjaya Chandrachud (Express/File photo)

Clearing the decks for the appointment of the 50th Chief Justice of India, CJI U U Lalit Tuesday recommended the name of Justice D Y Chandrachud, the second most senior judge of the Supreme Court, as his successor.

If approved by the government, Justice Chandrachud will have a tenure of two years as CJI. His father, Y V Chandrachud, too served as the CJI and had a stint of over 7 years.

At a gathering of Supreme Court judges Tuesday morning, CJI Lalit, who is due to retire on November 8, handed over a copy of the recommendation letter to Justice Chandrachud.

Last week, the government had written to the CJI, requesting him to name his successor. The oath-taking for the next CJI will take place on November 9.

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CJI Lalit is serving a tenure of under three months in office. Justice Chandrachud will be in office for two years — until November 10, 2024.

A law graduate from Delhi University, Justice Chandrachud went on to obtain his LL.M degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science from the Harvard Law School.

He practised law at the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court and was designated a Senior Advocate by the Bombay High Court in June 1998.

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He served as Additional Solicitor General from 1998 until he was appointed as a judge of the Bombay High Court on March 29, 2000. He was also Director of the Maharashtra Judicial Academy.

Justice Chandrachud took over as Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court on October 31, 2013, and was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court on May 13, 2016.

During his tenure in the Supreme Court, Justice Chandrachud penned some very important judgments.

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In the landmark ruling on Justice K S Puttaswamy (retd) & Another vs Union of India & Others, a nine-judge bench that included him recognised privacy as a fundamental right. Subsequently, as part of a five-judge bench, he dealt with the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. While the majority upheld the Act, Justice Chandrachud held it had been passed unconstitutionally as a Money Bill.

In his concurring judgement in the Navtej Singh Johar and Others vs Union of India case, in which the Supreme Court decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) making same-sex relations legal, Justice Chandrachud said it was an “antiquated and anachronistic colonial-era law forcing” sexual minorities “to live in hiding, in fear, and as second-class citizens”.

In April 2018, a three-judge bench that included him dismissed petitions which cast doubts on the death of CBI judge B H Loya and sought a probe into it. The bench said it was a “sudden, natural death” and “there was no evidence to suggest any inconsistencies in the history, clinical findings and autopsy report”.

Last month, in a significant ruling on reproductive rights, the Supreme Court bench headed by him extended the right to safe and legal abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy to unmarried and single women, saying it is the “right of every woman to make reproductive choices without undue interference from the State”.

He was also part of the five-judge Supreme Court bench which decided the Ayodhya title dispute matter.

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As head of the eCommittee of the Supreme Court, he played a key role in making virtual hearings possible during the Covid-19 pandemic, and also in launching live-streaming of the court’s proceedings, starting with cases being heard by Constitution benches.

First published on: 11-10-2022 at 10:49 IST
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