NEW DELHI: Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, who led the five-judge Constitution bench in the Supreme Court which had struck down the controversial NJAC Act on judges’ appointment, was on Tuesday recommended as the 44th Chief Justice of India.
Chief Justice of India T S Thakur on Tuesday recommended Justice Khehar’s name for appointment as his successor. Justice Khehar, 64, will be the first Chief Justice from the Sikh community and he will succeed Justice Thakur, who will be demitting office on January 3, 2017.
Justice Khehar, who became a Supreme Court judge on September 13, 2011, will remain in office till August 4.
Justice Khehar was also a member of the Judges Inquiry Committee for investigating the grounds on which the removal of former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, was sought.
Senior Supreme Court advocate Aryama Sundaram told Express, “Justice Khehar is a respected judge and he is known for his impeachable integrity. He is also known as a person who always upholds the dignity of the court.”
With Justice Thakur retiring next month, the collegium will now be comprised of Justice Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur.
Justice Khehar has also headed a bench which had set aside the imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh in January. He was also a part of the bench which sent Sahara chief Subrata Roy to jail while hearing the matter relating to the refund of money invested by people in his two companies.
Senior advocate Rajesh Kumar Mishra also praised Justice Khehar as a positive person. “He always gives a patient hearing to all the cases and work for the betterment of the institution with his ideas,” he said.
Justice Khehar also headed a bench which recently gave a significant verdict holding that the principal of ‘equal pay for equal work’ applies to daily wagers, casual and contractual employees who perform the same duties as regulars.
He was the chief justice of the Karnataka and Uttarakhand high courts and the acting chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court twice.
An LLM from Panjab University, Justice Khehar was enrolled as an advocate in 1979, was appointed additional advocate-general of Punjab in 1992 and then as the senior standing counsel of the union territory of Chandigarh.