Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Outgoing CJI hands over reins to Justice SH Kapadia


Courtesy_
Maalaimalar ePaper

Outgoing CJI hands over reins to Justice SH Kapadia

Bar&Bench News Network

May 12, 2010

As Justice K.G.Balakrishnan retires and hands over the reins of one of the largest judiciaries in the world to Justice S.H.Kapadia, Bar & Bench takes a look at his tenure as Chief Justice.

Konakuppakatil Gopinathan Balakrishnan, who was born on May 12, 1945 in Kottayam, Kerala is the 37th and the first Dalit Chief Justice of India. The son of a district court clerk, Balakrishnan studied science at the Maharani College in Ernakulum, Kerala and went on to earn his bachelor's degree in law in 1968 and his LL.M from the Government Law College, Ernakulum in 1971. He enrolled at the Kerala Bar Association in 1968 and steadily rose in reputation and legal skills.

Justice Balakrishnan served as a judge at the Kerala High Court and the Gujarat High Court before being elevated as the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court in 1998 and after that assuming charge as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court in 1999, before being elevated to the Supreme Court in 2000 and finally being appointed as Chief Justice of India in January of 2007.

While at the Supreme Court, the CJI was responsible for passing some landmark judgements which will impact the face of the Indian legal system for years to come:

Reservation case: In April 2008 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionally amended law providing 27 percent reservation for backward classes at the IITs, IIMs and other central education institutions, but barred the creamy layers from benefitting from the reservation.

Mining ban in the Aravalis: In May 2009, the apex court forest bench headed by the CJI passed an order putting a blanket ban on the mining of all minerals in the Aravili hills in the state of Haryana.

CBI Investigations: In February 2010, the apex court passed an order allowing the courts to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct investigations without the prior approval of the State Governments.

Narco Analysis: On May 5, 2010, the Supreme Court held that forced narco analysis, brain mapping and polygraph testing is a violation of the Fundamental Rights and cannot be done without the prior consent of the person.

Reliance Judgement: May 7, 2010, in the closely followed Reliance dispute between Mukesh and Anil Ambani, a three member bench headed by the CJI ruled that natural gas is a national asset and government pricing policy holds precedence over any private agreements.

Justice Balakrishnan's tenure was not without controversy. The lack of transparency in judicial functioning hit his reputation the hardest. The disclosure of judge's assets, the Right to Information dispute and the criticism of the manner of functioning of the collegiums in its appointment of judges reared their ugly heads simultaneously. Corruption charges on Justice P.D.Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court and Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court dogged the Chief Justice during the second half of his tenure.

However, many were disappointed when former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, A.P. Shah, was overlooked by the collegium for elevation to the Supreme Court. Many believe that Justice Shah's outspoken nature and radical judgments did not go very well with Justice Balakrishnan.

Justice Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka High Court was openly critical of Justice Balakrishnan's views, opinions and policies. Justice Kumar's articles which appeared at regular intervals on his blog and in editorials in national dailies, was a matter of embarrassment for the latter. Justice Balakrishnan tried to snub Justice Kumar, but failed.

However, whilst the preceding paragraphs does tend to view Justice Balakrishnan in negative light, it can be safely said that it was during his tenure, that the spotlight focused on the need for an overhaul of the system for appointment, elevation and transfer of judges.

President Prathiba Patil swore in Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia this morning. Justice Kapadia was born on September 10, 1947 and cut his teeth at the Bombay High Court. In 1991 he was appointed as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court and was appointed as a permanent judge two years hence.

He was appointed as Judge of the Special Court established under the Trial of Offences Relating to Transaction in Securities Act in 1999 and became the Chief Justice of the Uttaranchal High Court in 2003. He was elevated to the Supreme Court later that year.

During his time as judge of the Supreme Court he has been associated with 771 judgments including the historic five-judge bench judgement in which the court said that laws under the 9th Schedule were open to Judicial Review. He specializes in taxation and financial matters and is due to retire in 2012 when he turns 65.

Courtesy_

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This Blog Spot is meant for publishing landmark judgments pronounced by the Court of law as we collected from the renowned Dailies, Magazines, etc., so as to create an awareness to the general public and also to keep it as a ready reckoner by them. As such the readers may extend their gratitude towards the Original Author as we quoted at the bottom of each Post under the title "Courtesy/Sources". Furthermore, the Blog Authors are no way responsible for the correctness of the materials published herein and the readers may verify the concerned valuable sources.



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