Justice KG Balakrishnan, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, will be the new Chief Justice of India, the first-ever Dalit to occupy the coveted post.
Law Ministry sources said President APJ Abdul approved the new appointment on Friday. He replaces Chief Justice YK Sabharwal who is retiring on January 14, 2007.
A notification in this regard will be issued next week, sources said.
Balakrishnan, the 37th chief justice, will have a tenure of three years and four months, till May 12, 2010, the day he retires.
Chief Justice Sabharwal had a tenure of 14 months while his predecessor Justice RC Lahoti had a 17 month stint.
Justice Balakrishnan was appointed judge of the apex court on June 8, 2000.
He was enrolled as an advocate on March 16, 1968 in Kerala Bar Council of Cochin (now Kochi) and practiced both on the civil and criminal side at Ernakulam.
Later on January 10, 1973 he was appointed as munsif in Kerala judicial service and promoted as assistant sessions judge on July 23, 1982. In about a year's time he was appointed deputy registrar (judicial) in the Kerala high court.
Following his promotion as additional judge of Kerala High Court on September 26, 1985, and permanant judge on July 11, 1986, Balakrishnan was appointed Chief Justice of Gujarat high court on July 16, 1998. Later he became Chief Justice of Madras high court on September 9, 1999, before being elevated as judge in the apex court.