The Supreme Court Judges Who ‘Rebelled’ Against the System: Brief Profiles

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Four seniormost judges of Supreme Court addressed press conference in New Delhi on Friday. — HT photo

NEW DELHI (IANS) — Brief profiles of the Supreme Court judges who ‘rebelled against the system

Justice Jasti Chelameswar 

Justice Chelameswar was elevated to the Supreme Court on October 10, 2011 and is currently number 2 in the judges’ hierarchy.

He has been the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court between May 2007 to March 2010 when he was transferred to Kerala High Court as the Chief Justice.

He is one of the few judges who have favoured the idea of National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) which seeks to nullify the Collegium system for appointment of judges.

Some of his significant judgements include the invalidation of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, and holding as part of the three-judge bench that no Indian can be denied government subsidies and other services for want of an Aadhaar number.

Justice Chelameswar is scheduled to retire in June this year.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi 

Elevated to the Supreme Court as a Judge on April 23, 2012, Justice Ranjan Gogoi is the next in line to become the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

He was briefly in the news for recusing himself from hearing the plea filed by a lawyers’ group against the proposed elevation of Justice J.S. Khehar as CJI in December 2016.

But he can also be credited with bringing forth the banality of most of the cases that land up at the apex court’s door, which ideally shouldn’t have.

Gogoi reportedly used to ask lawyers: “Does this case fall in the 93 per cent or in the seven per cent?”

Flummoxed, a bunch of lawyers decided to find out the secret behind this seemingly strange query. They researched all the apex court judgements between January 1 and December 31, 2014, and found that of the 884 judgments, just 64 cases (or seven per cent), pertained to any meaningful constitutional issues.

The finding brought forth what is bogging down the already overworked higher judiciary — a pile of insubstantial cases.

Gogoi served as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court before moving to the Supreme Court.

Justice Madan B Lokur 

Appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court on June 4, 2012, Justice Madan B. Lokur has vast experience in civil, criminal, constitutional, revenue and service laws.

He practised in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court before qualifying as as an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court in 1981.

He has served as Additional Solicitor General of India between July 1998 and February 1999 when he was appointed an Additional Judge of Delhi High Court and appointed its Permanent Judge five months later.

He functioned as Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court from February 2010 to May 2010 and as Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court from June 2010 to November 2011. He was Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court from November 2011 to June, 2012.

He took great interest in judicial reforms, computerisation of courts, judicial education, legal aid and services, juvenile justice and ADR.

He was appointed as One-Man Committee to suggest improvements in the working of the homes and organisations under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection and Children) Act, 2000 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007.

He is due to retire in December-end this year.

Justice Kurian Joseph 

Elevated as a Judge to the Supreme Court of India on March 8, 2013, Justice Kurian Joseph is a proponent of judiciary playing a pro-active role to meet people’s expectations and aspirations.

He was part of the bench comprising Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Lokur and himself that — while hearing the coal block allocation case — vowed to free the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from any political and bureaucratic interference.

He was also member of the Supreme Court bench that overruled the admissibility of electronic evidence in 2014.

The judgement, which he wrote, observed that “electronic records are more susceptible to tampering, alteration, transposition, excision, and without proper safeguards, the whole trial based on proof of electronic records can lead to a travesty of justice”, and that the position taken by the court in its 2005 Parliament attack case verdict was legally incorrect.

On August 22 last year, Justice Joseph gave a verdict against the practice of triple talaq or instant divorce practised by some sects of Muslims, and held that the practice of triple talaq is not integral to the religion or personal laws of that community.

He previously served twice as Acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court and was appointed as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court in February 2010.

He is due to retire on November 30 this year. — IANS

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