Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, 64, has been appointed the 44th Chief Justice of India. He will be sworn in as the CJI on January 4, 2017. The current Chief Justice TS Thakur will hold on to the office till 3rd January, 2017. The name of Justice Khehar was recommended for appointment by the current CJI. Justice Khehar will be the first Sikh to hold the post of CJI. The advisory, after Thakur’s retirement, would consist of Justice Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B. Lokur. Born on 28 August, 1952, Khehar enrolled as an advocate in 1979 and practiced mainly in Punjab, Haryana, Shimla, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh high courts. Later he was appointed as a judge of Supreme Court of India in 2011.
Justice Khehar holds a LLM degree from Panjab University, and became an advocate in 1979. He became the Additional Advocate General in Punjab, in January 1992, and later Senior Standing Counsel, Union Territory, Chandigarh. In February, 1995 he became a senior advocate and remained standing counsel for Universities, Corporate Bodies and a large number of companies and cooperative organisations.
As per the Supreme Court of India website, Khehar appeared as counsel for M Krishnaswamy, MP (from the Arani constituency in Tamil Nadu), in the defence of Justice V Ramaswami, then Judge of the Supreme Court of India, before the Judges Inquiry Committee (comprising of Justice P.B. Sawant, then Judge Supreme Court of India; Chief Justice P.D. Desai of the Bombay High Court; and Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India) constituted to investigate the grounds on which the removal of Justice V. Ramaswami was sought.
Khehar was then elevated to the Bench of High Court of Punjab and Haryana, at Chandigarh, on February 8, 1999. Here he was appointed as an Acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court twice i.e., with effect from August 02, 2008, and again, with effect from November 17, 2009. Khehar was elevated as Chief Justice of the High Court of Uttarakhand, at Nainital, on November 29, 2009 and thereafter he was transferred as Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka, where he assumed his office on August 8, 2010.
Justice Khehar also led the 5-judge Constitution bench that struck down the NJAC Act for appointment of judges. Justice Khehar was also a part of the bench which sent Sahara chief Subrata Roy to jail.He was also part of teh bench hearing the 2G spectrum allocation case. In the ongoing tussle over the appointment of judges with the Centre, Justice Khehar had said that teh jutices were working within a ‘Lakshman Rekha’.
Khehar’s retirement from the Supreme Court is due on August 28, 2017 – he will be CJI for just 7 months.
(With input from agencies)