UU Lalit recommends DY Chandrachud as India's next chief justice
India is likely to get its next Chief Justice (CJI) a month from now. CJI UU Lalit on Tuesday recommended Supreme Court Justice DY Chandrachud's name as his successor four days after the Union Law Ministry sought his recommendations for the same. Once accepted by the Centre, Chandrachud—currently the top court's second senior-most judge—will become the 50th CJI after Lalit's retirement on November 8.
CJI hands over letter of recommendation to Chandrachud
According to The Indian Express, CJI Lalit personally handed over a copy of his letter of recommendation for his successor to Justice Chandrachud in the SC on Tuesday morning. The development comes barely four days after the CJI Secretariat received correspondence from Union Minister of Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju, requesting Lalit to suggest the name of his successor.
Justice Chandrachud will serve two-year term
According to tradition, the incumbent CJI suggests the name of their successor only after receiving an official communication from the Union Law Ministry asking them to do so. CJI Lalit will retire on November 8, following which Justice Chandrachud shall take over as the 50th Chief Justice of India. He will have a two-year term and will be in office until November 10, 2024.
Freeze on SC collegium
NDTV reported the timing of the Law Ministry's move is significant since the CJI cannot preside over any collegium meeting—the SC's committee for judge appointments—or clear any appointments once their successor is named. Notably, there was a rift lately in the SC collegium after two justices objected to "the process of selection and appointing judges by circulation" as proposed by CJI Lalit, said reports.
Who is Justice Chandrachud?
The senior-most judge in the SC after CJI Lalit, Justice Chandrachud is the son of the longest-serving CJI, YV Chandrachud (1978-1985). Previously, Chandrachud served as the Additional Solicitor General of India (1999-2000), the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court (2013-16), and was also a senior advocate at the Bombay High Court. Currently, he's also the Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority.
Significant cases that put him in limelight
Per Live Law, Chandrachud is known for his liberal and progressive rulings, the most recent of which upheld unmarried women's abortion rights last month. He also served on the SC's constitution benches that decriminalized consensual homosexuality, recognized privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21, and decriminalized adultery. He was part of the bench that delivered the verdict on the Ayodhya Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid case.