NEW DELHI: On August 28, when Justice Dipak Misra will take oath as the 45th Chief Justice of India (CJI), he will serve the longest tenure at the post after Justice S H Kapadia, who had a tenure of 870 days before retiring in September 2012. Justice Mishra will be CJI for 400 days and will retire in October 2018. He will have the onerous task of appointing 10 judges.
However, Justice Mishra has to mediate between the Centre and judiciary over the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), which has to guide all future appointments of judges. MoP is important for filling up the vacancies to fight the rising pendency the Indian judiciary is faced with.
The Supreme Court, which has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges, is working with just 27, including CJI J S Khehar, who will retire on August 27. He will be followed by Justice P C Pant, whose term also ends this year.
Four more judges—Justices J Chelameswar, R K Agrawal, Adarsh K Goel and Amitava Roy—will retire before Justice Misra demits office on October 2, 2018.
The last appointments were made in February last, and since then the collegium has made no recommendation for appointment.
Known as a pro-citizen jurist, Justice Misra—the third CJI from Odisha after Justice Ranganath Misra, his uncle, and Justice G B Pattanaik—has to decide cases as crucial as the Ayodhya title dispute, the Sebi-Sahara payment row, the Aadhaar privacy issue and the Cauvery water dispute.
Justice Misra was part of the bench which, in an unprecedented pre-dawn hearing in July 2015, rejected Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon’s plea to escape the hangman’s noose. He also confirmed the death sentence to the four men in the 2012 Nirbhaya case.