Chief Justice of India

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Chief Justice of India
Bhārat ke Mukhya Nyāyādhīśa
Emblem of the Supreme Court of India.svg
Emblem of the SCI
Flag of India.svg
Justice N.V. Ramana.jpg
N. V. Ramana

since 24 April 2021
Supreme Court
TypeChief Justice
StatusPresiding Judge
Residence5, Krishna Menon Marg, Sunehri Bagh, New Delhi, India[1]
SeatSupreme Court of India, New Delhi, India
NominatorOutgoing Chief Justice of India on the basis of Seniority
AppointerPresident of India
Term lengthUntil the age of 65[2]
Constituting instrumentConstitution of India (under Article 124)
Formation28 January 1950; 72 years ago (1950-01-28)
First holderH. J. Kania (1950–1951)[3]
Salary280,000 (US$3,700) (per month)[4]

The Chief Justice of India (IAST: Bhārat ke Mukhya Nyāyādhīśa), officially the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of India as well as the highest-ranking officer of the Indian federal judiciary. The Constitution of India grants power to the president of India to appoint, in consultation with the outgoing chief justice, the next chief justice, who will serve until they reach the age of sixty-five or are removed by impeachment. As per convention, the name suggested by the incumbent chief justice is almost always the next senior most judge in the Supreme Court.

However this convention has been broken twice. In 1973, Justice A. N. Ray was appointed superseding 3 senior judges. Also, in 1977 Justice Mirza Hameedullah Beg was appointed as the chief justice superseding Justice Hans Raj Khanna.

As head of the Supreme Court, the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law.[5] In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the chief justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to them (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.

On the administrative side, the chief justice carries out functions of maintenance of the roster, appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.

The 48th and present chief justice is N. V. Ramana.[6]


As the incumbent chief justice approaches retirement, the Ministry of Law and Justice seeks a recommendation from the incumbent chief justice. Consultations with other judges might also take place. The recommendation is then presented to the prime minister, who passes the advice on to the president.[7]


Article 124(4) of Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a judge of Supreme Court which is applicable to chief justices as well. Once appointed, the chief justice remains in the office until the age of 65 years or 6 years which one firstly completed.[citation needed] He can be removed only through a process of removal by Parliament as follows:

A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

— Article 124(4), Constitution of India, [8]

Acting president[edit]

The president (Discharge of Functions) Act, 1969[9][sentence fragment] of India provides that the chief justice of India shall act as the president of India in the event of the offices of both the president and the vice president being vacant. When President Zakir Hussain died in office, Vice President V. V. Giri, acted as the president. Later, Giri resigned as the vice president. The chief justice, Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah then became the acting president of India. As per the convention, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court became the acting chief justice. When the newly elected president took office a month later, Justice Hidayatullah reverted as the chief justice of India.

List of chief justices of India[edit]


The Constitution of India gives the power of deciding remuneration as well as other conditions of service of the chief justice to the Parliament of India. Accordingly, such provisions have been laid down in The Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.[10][11] This remuneration was revised in 2006–2008, after the sixth Central Pay Commission's recommendation.[12]

2018 crisis[edit]

In 2018, in an unprecedented act, four supreme court justices spoke out against the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Though the chief justice's powers and duties have been considered equivalent to the other justices of the Supreme Court, under Misra, the court established the chief justice as the "Master of Roster" and pronounced that the chief justice "alone has the prerogative to constitute the benches of the court and allocate cases to the benches so constituted" even if the case involved accusations against the chief justice themselves, thus creating the provision to violate the in causa sua principle of natural justice.[13][needs update]


  1. ^ "Delhi confidential: Mutual Praise". 24 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Supreme Court of India - CJI & Sitting Judges". Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Supreme Court of India Retired Hon'ble the Chief Justices' of India". Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Supreme Court, High Court judges get nearly 200% salary hike". The Hindustan Times. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  5. ^ Saxena, Namit (23 December 2016). "New Captain Of The Ship, Change In Sailing Rules Soon?". Live Law. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  6. ^ "7 Next CJIs". Supreme Court Observer. 23 November 2021. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Article 124, Constitution of India". Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  9. ^ "President Discharge of Functions Act 1969 Complete Act - Citation 134059 - Bare Act | LegalCrystal".
  10. ^ "The High Court and Supreme Court Judges Salaries and Conditions of Service Amendment Bill 2008" (PDF). PRS India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act 1958" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  12. ^ Archived copy (PDF). 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2018.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Dev, Atul. "Dipak Misra's shadow over the Supreme Court". The Caravan. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.

External links[edit]