How Supreme Court Chooses The Chief Justice Of India


Appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office. The Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs would, at the appropriate time, seek the recommendation of the outgoing Chief Justice of India for the appointment of the next Chief Justice of India.

  • Whenever there is any doubt about the fitness of the senior most Judge to hold the office of the Chief Justice of India, consultation with other Judges as envisaged in Article 124 (2) of the Constitution would be made for appointment of the next Chief Justice of India.
  • After receipt of the recommendation of the Chief Justice of India, the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs will put up the recommendation to the Prime Minister who will advise the President in the matter of appointment.
  • From 1950 to 1973, the practice has been to appoint the senior most judge of the Supreme Court as the chief justice of India. This established convention was violated in 1973 when A N Ray was appointed as the Chief Justice of India by superseding three senior judges and in 1977, when M U Beg was appointed as the chief justice of India by superseding the then senior-most judge. This discretion of the government was curtailed by the Supreme Court in the Second Judges Case (1993), in which the Supreme Court ruled that the senior most judge of the Supreme Court should alone be appointed to the office of the Chief Justice of India.UPSC Prelims 2024 dynamic test series
  • Seniority at the apex court is determined not by age, but by the date a judge was appointed to the Supreme Court.
  • If two judges are elevated to the Supreme Court on the same day then:
  • The one who was sworn in first as a judge would trump another
  • If both were sworn in as judges on the same day, the one with more years of high court service would ‘win’ in the seniority stakes
  • An appointment from the bench would ‘trump’ in seniority an appointee from the bar.

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