Swearing-in of new Chief Justice of India on 3rd December 2015: Reforms necessary for avoiding short-term or extra-long-term Chief Justices

Posted Monday December 07, 2015 by Subhash Chandra Agrawal

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Justice Tirathsingh Thakur has taken oath as country’s forty-third Chief Justice. He has some biggest challenges mainly including appointment of judges in higher courts at a time when Supreme Court has struck down legislation spelling out new system of appointment of judges.

Apart from taking a balanced approach on procedure of judges’ appointment, it should be ensured that short-term and extra-long-term Chief Justices of India may be avoided. Chief Justice of India should be made for one year by rotation amongst senior-most judges with at least one year of tenure left to check contrast cases with Justice Kamal Narain Singh having been CJI for just 18 days (25.11.1991 to 12.12.1991) while Justice Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud having been CJI for more than seven years (22.02.1978 to 11.07.1985).

All High Court judges should be compulsorily appointed from outside their home-states to avoid chances of locally-appointed judges being approached/influenced through former bar-colleagues and local relations/friends etc. Retirement-age of High Court judges should be raised to 65 years to be at par with that of Supreme Court judges. Step will be in right direction to effectively check lobbying by some High Court judges for elevation to Supreme Court. Moreover services of many deserving High Court judges will then be effectively utilised till optimum retirement-age of 65 years for judges that is presently only for Supreme Court judges.

There should be a ban of two years in post-retirement postings of retiring judges. Even chairpersons of Human Rights Commissions at national and state level should be selected from amongst retired judges of Supreme Court by National Judicial Commission, after two years of their retirement.

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