Honorable justice Dipak Misra is the 45th Chief Justice of India. He was appointed as the 45th CJI by the president Shree RamNath Kovind for the duration of 14 months, i.e. 28th August 2017- 2nd October 2018. He succeeded the 44th CJI J S Khehar.
Life and Career-
Justice Misra was born on 3rd October 1953 in Cuttack, Odissha and struggled hard way by overcoming his inefficiency in English language to becoming the topmost judicial head of the Nation. He is the nephew of former justice Ranganath Mishra who served as the 21st CJI during 1990-1991. He completed his Bachelors in Legislative laws and got his L.L.B. degree from Madhusudan Law College Cuttuck. He began his career by enrolling himself as an advocate in February 1977 and pleading before the Odisha High Court and service tribunal in the matters of constitutional, civil, criminal, service, revenue, and service and tax cases.
He was then appointed as the Additional judge of Odisha High Court in 1996 ad was transferred to the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the subsequent year, i.e. 1997. On 19th December 1997, he became the permanent judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Following the tenure of about 11 years as a judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court, justice Mishra was subsequently appointed as the Chief Justice of Patna High Court, where he served as the Chief Justice from December 2009 to May 2010.
He was further made the chief justice of Delhi High Court in May 2010 and served there till 10th October 2011, when he was finally elevated as the Judge of the Supreme Court.
Serving as a judge of the Apex Court for 6 years, he finally reached at the zenith of his legal career when he was appointed as the 45th Chief Justice of India.
His Journey till the office of CJI witnessed almost every legal profession ranging from lawyer to additional judge to permanent judge and finally to Chief Justice.
In his entire tenure, justice Mishra became a part of numerous notable judgments a few of which needs a mention here-
- The judgment in Own Motion v. State, in which the mandatory uploading of the FIRs on the official websites within 24 hours of their lodging was made mandatory.
- The Reservation in Promotion Judgment in which J. Misra along with J. DalveerBhandari held that Reservation for promotions in government jobs may only be provided in case of dire needs and not otherwise.
- 1993 Mumbai Blast Case in which the Bench dismissed the plea of the prime accused Yakub Menon asking for injunction in his execution.
- Judgment involving death sentence to Nirbhaya Rape case’s accused. The “brutal, barbaric and diabolic nature” of the crime could create a “tsunami of shock” to destroy a civilised society, the verdict, Justice Misra, had said.
- Judgment upholding the constitutionality of Criminal Defamation, saying that the right to free speech cannot mean that a citizen can defame anybody.
- He rejected a frivolous petition that objected to the title of the film ‘Dhobi Ghat’, warning the petitioner.
- Judgment convicting Justice Karnan, former judge of Calcutta High Court for the contempt of Court.
- Judgment deciding on the mandatory playing of National Anthem in cinema halls.
- Judgment Declaring Right to die as a fundamental right under article 21 of the Indian Constitution (Passive Euthanasia).
- Judgment deciding that “When two adults consensually choose each other as life partners, it is a manifestation of their choice which is recognized under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution”
After being appointed as the CJI, J. Misra has been heading the Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court and has been actively engaged in decreasing the pendency of cases. He was broken the tradition by sitting on 22nd December alongside Justice AM Khanwilkar, even when the Court vacation had begun from 15th December, which hasn’t ever been done by any bench. He stated that, ”I have listed cases dealing with poor, and those cases which can be sorted out.”
On 12 January 2018, four senior judges of the Supreme Court; JastiChelameswar, RanjanGogoi, MadanLokur and KurianJosephaddressed a press conference criticizing Misra’s style of administration and about the allocation of cases. The issue was however apparently resolved by the CJ declaring himself to be the Master of the Roaster and a fixed allocation of benches to different judges.
Further, after the non-affirmative judgment of the constitution bench in a plea asking for a fresh probe in the suspicious death of CBI Judge, justice Loya who was hearing the case of Shobuddin Encounter case involving names of eminent politicians like Amit Shah, the opposition Party passed an impeachment Motion against Justice Misra, alleging him for failure in performing duties inter alia.
The motion was however rejected by the chairman of rajyasabha Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu and the CJI with his full dignity, decorum and devotion, continues to serve for the judiciary and striving for making India, a better Nation along with reducing the pendency of ages long cases.
By : Rhishika Srivastava, GLS, Ahmedabad.