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    EditorialEnormous task before CJI

    Enormous task before CJI


    Amidst confrontationist course between Supreme Court and the Union Government over appointment of judges, the decks have been cleared for Justice J S Khehar to be the next Chief Justice of , succeeding Justice T S Thakur who will retire on 3 January. It is a well-accepted convention to appoint the senior-most judge as CJI and predictably that convention will be duly adhered to.

    The tenure Justice Thakur will be remembered as a contentious one when relations between the executive and the judiciary touched a new low. It is to be hoped that Justice Khehar will bridge the sharp divide between the two pillars of democracy without compromising in any way the majesty and independence of the judiciary.

    For one, when there are 560 vacancies to be filled by the law ministry, the workload on the existing judges rises tenfold. This gives them less time to hear contrarian arguments at length because speed in justice dispensation overrides the need to cogitate over scholarly arguments.

    Justice Thakur was, during his illustrious tenure as CJI, a relentless fighter for speedy filling of vacancies of judges of various courts so that justice may be dispensed speedily. For the process to have not gone on swiftly, he blamed the Narendra Modi government which in turn claimed that during its two-and-a-half years of unfinished term it had cleared more appointments than governments had done in the past except once.

    The government, on its part, felt that the apex court had ignored the advice of the five-judge bench headed by Justice Khehar that had struck down the Judicial Appointments Commission Act to re-draft the Memorandum of Procedure for the appointment of judges and make it more transparent.

    If Justice Khehar takes over as Chief Justice on 4 January next as is expected, he will need to grapple with the issue of re-drafting the MoP for judicial appointments which has been a handle for the Modi government to justify any delay in appointment of judges.

    It will be up to the new CJI as also to the government to ensure that the bitterness that has crept into the relationship between the executive and the judiciary is ironed out. Justice Khehar will indeed have only seven months to put his agenda into action before he retires and to establish healthy traditions.


    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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