Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Wednesday (March 24) recommended Justice NV Ramana, the senior-most judge in the apex court after him, as his successor, media reports said. Justice Bobde retires on April 23.
Justice Bobde was sworn in as the 47th CJI in November 2019, succeeding Justice (retired) Ranjan Gogoi. He has been part of several key cases, including the historic verdict that paved the way for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Born on August 27, 1957, Justice Ramana has tenure till August 26, 2022. Justice Ramana was appointed a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in June 2000. He served as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court before being elevated to the Supreme Court in February 2014.
As per the procedures for the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, “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”.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote to CJI Bobde requesting him to nominate his successor, who would be appointed as the 48th CJI, media reports said.
The memorandum of procedure for the CJI’s appointment says: “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”.
The last time a CJI retired without making any new appointments to the Supreme Court was during CJI HL Dattu’s tenure in 2015. That happened following a standoff between the judiciary and the government over the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) that aimed to redraw the appointment process.
The Supreme Court has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges. It has five vacancies at present.