(Last Updated on : 11/02/2011)
Chief justice of India is the senior most position in the Indian Judiciary which is usually appointed according to the seniority. As the senior most position within the Indian Judiciary, the chief justice of India is responsible for a number of administrative functions accompanied with its rare responsibility of advising the Indian President
on matters of concern. He also bears the responsibility of presiding over the sessions of the Supreme Court of India
Appointment and Tenure
Chief justice of India shall be appointed according to article 124 of the Constitution of India
. As there was no definite provision as to the appointment of the Chief Justice to the Supreme Court; therefore the process for the selection of the judges to the Supreme Court was applied for the Chief Justice as well. This in practice meant that the most senior judges in the Supreme Court would be selected by the Government of India
and suggested to the Indian President
who would approve the same and thus the Chief Justice would be selected. Government generally nominates the judge with the maximum experience in the Supreme Court and he would be appointed as the Chief Justice. Chief justice of India once appointed cannot be removed from the office until his retirement or until removed by impeachment or leaves the office with resignation. Overall he continues to hold the office for a period of next 5 years which is a regular tenure of the Chief Justice of India.
Functions of Chief Justice of India
Chief justice of India discharges a number of functions which are both administrative as well as advisory. Within its administrative functions it includes allocation of matters to various other judges of the Supreme Court; appointment of court officials; general and other diverse matters that are related to supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court and maintenance of roster. Along with this, the chief justice shall be responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches that deals with matters of law. As mentioned in article 124 of Constitution of India
and the Supreme Court rules and procedure of 1966 the Chief Justice shall be responsible for allocating the work to other judges all over India who are bound to refer to him in cases the matters are to be looked by the bench of higher order.
Chief justice of India had been one of the important additions to the general powers of the Supreme Court. After the Emergency, the Supreme Court in consecutive historical decisions bestowed a lot of powers to itself. One of these powers was the declaration that the Government of India would nominate only the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court for the position of Chief Justice. This created the post of Chief Justice of India which had been shared by a number of eminent judges since independence. Some of the known Chief justices of India are H. J. Kania who was the first chief justice of India, after Indian Independence. He joined office on August 15, 1947 and left office on November 16, 1951, AK Gopalan, M. P. Sastri, Mehr Chand Mahajan, B. K. Mukherjea and Sudhi Ranjan Das were the other Chief Justices of India in the following years.
Thus Chief justice of India can be regarded as one of the senior most positions of Indian Supreme court which looks after the working of the judicial machinery of India. This also plays an important role in advising the president whenever required.