Justice Uday Umesh Lalit appointed as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI)

49th Chief Justice of India (CJI): Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has been appointed the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI) after President Droupadi Murmu signed his warrant of appointment.

Key Highlights:

  • He will assume charge on August 27,2022 a day after Justice N.V. Ramana demits office as the CJI.
  • Justice Ramana is scheduled to retire from office on August 26, on superannuation.
  • He was the 48th CJI of India.
  • He was appointed on April 24, 2021.
  • However, the tenure of Justice Lalit will be a brief tenure as he will demit office on November 8 after holding the charge as the CJI for a little under three months.
  • He will be the second CJI who was directly elevated to the apex court Bench from the Bar.
  • The first lawyer to be elevated directly to the top court Bench in March 1964 was Justice S.M. Sikri who went on to become the 13th CJI in January 1971.

About Justice Uday Umesh Lalit:

  • Justice Uday Umesh Lalit is senior-most judge in the Supreme Court.
  • Set to become the 49th CJI, Justice Lalit will retire in November, 2022.
  • Justice Lalit is the 6th senior advocate who was appointed to the Apex Court, directly from the Bar.
  • As a senior advocate he specialised in criminal cases and was appointed as CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor in all 2G matters, under the Supreme Court’s orders.
  • He has been part of several landmark judgements including ‘triple talaq’.
  • He was appointed a judge of the SC on August 13, 2014.

Important Takeaways:

Memorandum of Procedure:

  • As per Memorandum of Procedure, the outgoing CJI is asked to recommend name of his successor by the Law Ministry.
  • The recommendation is usually asked within a month of retirement of the incumbent CJI.
  • In practice, CJI is strictly appointed by seniority.
  • The CJI and other SC judges are appointed by the President of India, as per clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution.

Tenure of CJI:

  • The Constitution of India does not provide any fixed tenure for the CJI.
  • However, after appointment, the CJI remains in office till the age of 65 years.

Note: While Supreme Court judges retire on attaining the age of 65, judges of the 25 High Courts superannuate at the age of 62.

Removal of a CJI:

  • The CJI can be removed by an order of the President, in accordance with Article 124(4) of Constitution of India.