On November 8, 2022, Justice DY Chandrachud took over as Chief Justice of India from Justice UU Lalit. On November 9, he was officially installed as India’s 50th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. On October 11, the current CJI announced that Chandrachud would be his successor. While his predecessor only served for 74 days, Justice Chandrachud will be CJI for two years.
Justice Chandrachud has had a distinguished career, and he has participated in several important decisions. These include the ones on the Ayodhya title dispute, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, adultery, privacy, and the admittance of women into the Sabarimala temple, among others.
DY Chandrachud earned a PhD in law from Harvard University and a BA (Honors) in economics from St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi. His next stop was the Campus Law Centre at Delhi University, where he earned his Bachelor of Laws degree.
He worked as a lawyer in both the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court. On March 29, 2000, he was officially named a judge for the Bombay High Court. From 1998 to 2000, he worked as India’s Additional Solicitor General.
A senior lawyer since June 1998, he received this title from the Bombay High Court. He was elevated to the Supreme Court on May 13, 2016, but before that, he served as Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court from October 31, 2013.
In the past, the new CJI has been known for being unconventional. His father, Y.V. Chandrachud, served as Chief Justice of India (CJI) for seven years and four months (1978–1985).
This would be the first time in India’s Supreme Court’s nearly seven-decade history that a father and son have held the same position. DY Chandrachud is particularly well-known for reversing two of his father’s judgements on adultery and the right to privacy.
At the University of Mumbai and the Oklahoma University School of Law in the United States, he has taught courses on comparative constitutional law as a visiting professor.
During the mandatory quarantine period caused by the epidemic, virtual hearings were initiated, thanks mainly to the efforts of Chandrachud. Such investigations are now a standard part of the procedure.
The reputation of Justice Chandrachud’s cricket fandom precedes him. Chandrachud, a notorious workaholic, presided over a bench on September 30, 2022, that sat until 9:10 pm, far beyond regular business hours, to hear 75 cases and clear the board before the commencement of the Dussehra holidays. As of the 10th of November, 2024, Justice Chandrachud will no longer serve in this capacity.
Many constitution benches have included DY Chandrachud. The Ayothya property title issue is just one of several important decisions he has authored. He sat on the courts that ruled on the constitutionality of the Aadhaar programme and the Sabarimala temple dispute, as well as those that partly knocked down Section 377 of the IPC on so-called unnatural sex (of carnal contact against the order of nature).
In a recent ruling, he was part of a bench that widened access to abortion for transgender and unmarried women between 20 and 24 weeks of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.
Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India was argued before a nine-judge constitution bench. He wrote the majority opinion, which affirmed privacy as a fundamental right.
A court headed by Justice Chandrachud issued many directives to help people cope with the pandemic problem. The court led by Justice Chandrachud issued a historic ruling in February 2020 in favour of women officers in the Army receiving permanent commission and command positions. Later, he presided over a bench that cleared the door for women officers to be given a permanent commission in the Indian Navy.
Two justices on the supreme court Collegium, including Justice Chandrachud, have voiced their displeasure with the “circulation” approach used to gather opinions on potential Supreme Court nominees.
In addition, Justice Chandrachud participated in a historic ruling by a five-judge constitution panel that upheld the validity of a ‘living will’ for passive euthanasia written by a terminally sick patient.
Construction of two 40-story skyscrapers by real estate giant Supertech in Noida was deemed unlawful by a bench he presided over, and the structures were ordered down.
Memorandum of procedure of appointment of Supreme Court Judges.
Chief Justice of India :
The position of Chief Justice of India should be filled by the most senior Supreme Court judge who is qualified for the job. The next Chief Justice of India will be appointed based on the suggestion of the current Chief Justice of India, which would be sought by the Union Minister of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs at the proper time.
Suppose the most senior judge is not considered qualified to be Chief Justice of India. In that case, the position will be left open until the next Chief Justice of India is appointed following Article 124 (2) of the Constitution.
Once the Union Minister of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs has received a recommendation from the Chief Justice of India, he or she will forward it to the Prime Minister, who would then advise the President on the appointment topic.
Judges of the Supreme Court :
If a Supreme Court judgeship becomes vacant, the Chief Justice of India will approach the Union Minister of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs with a proposal and a recommendation.
The Chief Justice of India shall meet with a collegium comprising the four seniormost puisne Judges of the Supreme Court to determine his or her view on the appointment of a Judge of the Supreme Court. In order to ensure that the next Chief Justice of India has a say in the appointment of judges to serve during his tenure, he or she must be a member of the collegium, even if they are not among the four most senior puisne Judges.
Suppose the most senior Supreme Court judge is not from the same High Court as the proposed person. In that case, the Chief Justice of India will seek the opinion of the following most senior Supreme Court judge from that High Court to determine whether or not to go on with the appointment.
Judges who have served as Judges or Chief Justices of that High Court on transfer would be included in the necessity to confer with a Judge of the Supreme Court since this provision would not be limited to the Judge who has that High Court as a parent High Court.
The collegium members’ and the senior Supreme Court judge from the High Court from when a potential candidate originates will each provide written opinions on the suggestions, and the Chief Justice of India will always be required to convey his own view to the Indian government. If the Chief Justice of India or other members of the Collegium seek opinions, particularly from non-Judges, the consultation is not required to be in writing; however, he who seeks the opinion should make a memorandum of the consultation and its substance in general terms, which should be conveyed to the Government of India.
The Union Minister of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs will submit the Chief Justice of India’s final proposal to the Prime Minister, who will advise the President on the appointment topic.
The Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Justice will notify the Chief Justice of India once the appointment is finalised and will request a certificate of physical fitness from the chosen individual, to be signed by a Civil Surgeon or a District Medical Officer. All chosen appointees, whether already serving the State or not, must submit a Medical Certificate before their positions may be officially filled. The attached form is the correct format for the certificate.
The Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Justice will announce and publish the relevant notice in the Gazette of India as soon as the President signs the warrant of appointment.
Appointment of acting Chief Justice :
The President appoints the interim Chief Justice under Article 126 of the Constitution. No matter how long the vacancy has been, the position of Chief Justice must be filled. If the position of Chief Justice of India becomes vacant, the Supreme Court’s most senior remaining judge will be nominated to fill the position. After the President gives final approval, the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Justice will notify the Chief Justice of India, or in his absence, the Judge relevant to the Supreme Court, make the appointment public and publish the required notice in the Gazette of India.