|Chief Justice of India|
Emblem of the Supreme Court of India
|Nominator||Collegium of the Supreme Court of India|
|Appointer||President of India|
|Term length||till the age of 65 yrs|
|Constituting instrument||Constitution of India (under Article 124)|
|First holder||H. J. Kania (1950-1951)|
|Salary||(US$4,100) (per month)|
|Website||Supreme Court of India|
As head of the supreme court, the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law. In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the Chief Justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.
On the administrative side, the Chief Justice carries out the following functions: maintenance of the roster; appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.
However this convention has been broken twice. In 1973, Justice AN Ray was appointed superseding 3 senior judges. Also, in 1975 Justice MH Beg was appointed as the CJI superseding Justice HR Khanna.
The present CJI is Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and is the 46th CJI since 3 October 2018.28th January 1950, the year the Constitution came into effect and the supreme court came into being. He succeeded Justice Dipak Misra on 2 October 2018, and will remain in office till 17 November 2019, the day he retires on turning 65 years in age.
Article 124 of the Constitution of India provides the matter of appointing judges of the Supreme Court. Though no specific provision exists in the Constitution for appointing the Chief Justice, who as a result, is appointed like the other judges conventionally, the outgoing CJI recommends the name of the senior-most judge (i.e. by date of appointment to the Supreme Court) for appointment by the President of India, as his successor.
Article 124(4) of Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a Judge of Supreme Court which is applicable to Chief Justice as well. Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in the office until the age of 65 years. He can be removed only through a process of impeachment by Parliament as follows:
A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
The President (Discharge of Functions) Act, 1969 of India provides that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) shall act as the President of India in the event of the offices of both the President and the Vice President being vacant. When President Zakir Hussain died in office, the Vice President V. V. Giri, acted as the President. Later, Mr. Giri resigned as the Vice President. The CJI, Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah then became the acting President of India. As per the convention, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court became the acting CJI. When the newly elected President took office a month later, Justice Hidayatullah reverted as the Chief Justice of India.
The Constitution of India gives the power of deciding remuneration as well as other conditions of service of the Chief Justice to the Parliament of India. Accordingly, such provisions have been laid down in The Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958. This remuneration was revised in 2006-2008, after the sixth central pay commission's recommendation.
In 2018, in an unprecedented act, four supreme court justices spoke out against the acting CJI Dipak Misra. Prior to Misra, no CJI had ever been indicted for fraud. Since then, the post of the CJI and the Supreme Court in general has come under increased scrutiny. Though the CJI's powers and duties have been considered equivalent to the other justices of the Supreme Court, under Misra, the court pronounced that the CJI "alone has the prerogative to constitute the benches of the court and allocate cases to the benches so constituted" even if the case involved accusations against the CJI him/herself, thus creating the provision to violate the in causa sua principle of natural justice.