DY Chandrachud Named 50th CJI; 3 Times When Seniority Convention Was Sidestepped

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit named Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud — the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court – as his successor in accordance with the seniority convention at a gathering of all judges of the apex court on Tuesday. He will take over as the 50th Chief Justice of India on November 9.

There has been a convention of the CJI recommending the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court as his successor. The Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) governing the appointment of members of the higher judiciary says that the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court is considered fit for appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India.

Justice Lalit will also write back to the Union Law Ministry later in the day on the matter. Justice Chandrachud will be CJI for a little more than two years until November 10, 2024.

Chief Justice of India UU Lalit had taken oath as the 49th Chief Justice of India in August.

Justice D Y Chandrachud was elevated as a judge in the top court in 2016. He served as the Additional Solicitor General of India in 1998 and was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court in 2013. He has been associated with the Bombay High Court too.


The MoP, however, was famously discarded by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when her government recommended Justice A N Ray as CJI in 1973, superseding three more senior judges, Justices J M Shelat, K S Hegde, and A N Grover.

After Ray’s retirement in 1977, Justice MH Beg was appointed as CJI, superseding the senior-most Judge of the Court—Justice HR Khanna, presumably in retaliation for his scathing dissent in ADM Jabalpur v Shivakant Shukla, 1976.

However, this was not the first time the seniority principle was not followed in the history of the Supreme Court. In 1964, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appointed Justice PB Gajendragadkar as CJI, superseding Justice SJ Imam, , who was seriously unwell.


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