Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar will be the 44th Chief Justice of India after the term of Justice Tirath Singh Thakur ends on 4 January 2017. He will be the first Sikh to be appointed as the Chief Justice of India. He will be sworn in as the 44th Chief Justice of India on 4th January 2017 by President Pranab Mukherjee. His term will end on 27 August 2017. His name for the post of Chief Justice was recommended to the union government by CJI T.S. Thakur.
Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar was one of the 5 judges who passed the judgement warning the then UPA government over 2G spectrum scam that the government must ensure that every natural resource is allocated by transparent auction. In his judgement, Justice Khehar said, “No part of the natural resource can be dissipated as a matter of largess, charity, donation or endowment, for private exploitation. Each bit of natural resource expended must bring back a reciprocal consideration.” This was a major setback to the then Manmohan Singh government who was slapped by the Supreme Court over the scams.
Justice Khehar 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.
He also headed a bench which recently gave a significant verdict holding that the principal of ‘equal pay for equal work’ must be made applicable to those engaged as daily wage earners, casual and contractual employees who perform the same duties as the those who are permanently employed.
He was heading the bench which struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), declaring the 99th constitutional amendment and NJAC act as “unconstitutional and void”. Justice Khehar gave a verdict that giving the government and public the final say in appointment of judges will lead to judiciary being caught in a “web of indebtness towards government”. He said, “It is difficult to hold that the wisdom of appointment of judges can be shared with the political-executive. In India, the organic development of civil society, has not as yet sufficiently evolved. The expectation from the judiciary, to safeguard the rights of the citizens of this country, can only be ensured, by keeping it absolutely insulated and independent, from the other organs of governance.”
However, at the same time Justice Khehar also said that he agrees that everything is not good in the collegium system of appointment of judges and would appreciate government’s cooperation in improving the system. “Help us improve and better the system. You see the mind is a wonderful instrument. The variance of opinions when different minds and interests meet or collide is wonderful,” Justice Khehar told the government.
Justice Khehar has been a person who has maintained the highest standards of integrity and professionalism all along his career, and has been part of innumerable landmark judgements. As the 44th Chief Justice of India, we wish him the best !