Justice SA Bobde to be sworn in as CJI on November 18
Justice Bobde was elevated to the Supreme Court in April 2012 after serving as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh high court. Justice Bobde, who is from Maharashtra, studied law at Nagpur University.Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 03:19 IST
Justice SA Bobde, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, will take over as the 47th CJI after President Ram Nath Kovind signed the warrant of his appointment on Tuesday.
Justice Bobde will be sworn in on November 18, a day after CJI Gogoi demits office, and will have a little over 18 months as the head of the Indian judiciary before he retires on April 2021. CJI Gogoi had sent his recommendation to appoint Justice Bobde as his successor a week ago.
Justice Bobde was elevated to the Supreme Court in April 2012 after serving as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh high court. Justice Bobde, who is from Maharashtra, studied law at Nagpur University. The top court judge, whose grandfather and father were both lawyers, began practising law in 1978before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court. Born in 1956, Justice Bobde was designated as a senior advocate in 1998 and elevated to the high court as an additional judge in March 2000.
Justice Bobde has played a key role at the top court. He, in May 2019, headed the three-judge committee that heard sexual harassment allegations against CJI Gogoi by a staff member from the CJI’s office in April 2019. The committee found “no substance in the allegations”. The judge was also said to have brokered peace between previous CJI Dipak Misra and the four senior judges who held a press conference against the court’s functioning under him in January 2018.
On the judicial side, Justice Bobde is part of the five-judge Constitution bench that recently finished hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case and is expected to deliver its verdict before CJI Gogoi’s retirement on 17 November. It was Justice Bobde who proposed mediation to amicably resolve the long-pending civil dispute and also to “heal hearts and minds”.
As a SC judge, Justice Bobde has been part of benches that have delivered landmark verdicts. One of them is the nine-judge bench that backed privacy as a fundamental right and held that the “right to privacy is inextricably bound up with all exercises of human liberty”in 2017.
He was also a member of the bench that ruled that no Indian citizen could be deprived of basic services and government subsidies because he or she didn’t have an Aadhaar card.
In 2017, he upheld the Karnataka government’s ban on a book on the grounds that it outraged the religious feelings of Lord Basavanna’s followers.
In 2016, Bobde was part of a bench led by then-CJI TS Thakur which ruled that seeking votes in the name of religion might be a greater evil than whipping up sentiments based on caste or language.
Bobde’s office refused to comment on his appointment.
Sanjay Hegde, a senior advocate at the Supreme Court, said, “I wish him good luck and good health, for the tasks ahead. Hopefully, he will be a calming influence in what looks like increasingly turbulent times. Many high courts are working at half strength due to lack of appointments . His pleasant but firm personality may yet smoothen the path of judicial regeneration.”