Chief Justice of India

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Chief Justice of India
Emblem of the Supreme Court of India.svg
Emblem of the Supreme Court of India
Justice H. L. Dattu BNC.jpg
Justice H. L. Dattu

since 28 September 2014
Judiciary of India
Abbreviation CJI
Seat Supreme Court of India, New Delhi
Nominator Collegium of the Supreme Court
Appointer President of India
Term length age of 65 yrs (upto 02/12/2015) [1]
Constituting instrument Constitution of India (under Article 124)
Formation 1950
First holder Justice H. J. Kania (26/01/1950 - 06/11/1951)[2]
Final holder Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha (27/04/2014 - 27/09/2014)[3]
Website Supreme Court of India

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the highest-ranking judge in the Supreme Court of India, and thus holds the highest judicial position in India. As well as presiding in the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice also heads its administrative functions.

As the chief judge, the Chief Justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law. In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the Chief Justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.

On the administrative side, the Chief Justice carries out the following functions:

  • Maintenance of the roster;
  • Appointment of court officials;
  • General and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.

The present Chief Justice is the 42nd since January 1950, the year the Constitution came into effect and the Supreme Court came into being.[4]


Article 124 of the Constitution of India provides for the manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court. However, no specific provision is made for appointing the Chief Justice, who, as a result, is appointed like the other judges[5]

Generally, the most senior (i.e. earliest appointed) judge in the Supreme Court is appointed by the President. However, this convention has been breached on a number of occasions, most notably during the premiership of Indira Gandhi, who appointed A.N. Ray superseding three judges senior to him allegedly because he supported Gandhi's government, during the Emergency, a time when her government was becoming increasingly mired in a political and constitutional crisis.[6]


Article 124(4) of Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a Judge of Supreme Court which is applicable to Chief Justice as well. Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in office for a period of 5 years or until the age of 65 years whichever is earlier. He can be removed only through a process of impeachment by Parliament as follows:

A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

— Article 124(4), Constitution of India , Source:[5]

Acting President[edit]

The constitution of India provides that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) shall act as the President of India in the event of the offices of both the President and the Vice President being vacant. When President Zakir Hussain died in office, the Vice President [[V. V. Giri], acted as the President. Later, Mr. Giri resigned as the Vice President. The CJI, Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah then became the acting President of India. The senior-most judge of the Supreme Court became the acting CJI. When the newly elected President took office a month later, Justice Hidayatullah reverted as the Chief Justice of India.


The Constitution of India gives the power of deciding remuneration as well as other conditions of service of the Chief Justice to the Parliament of India. Accordingly, such provisions have been laid down in The Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.[7][8]

The sixth central pay commission recommended revision in the salaries and other allowances and pensionary benefits of the central government employees, including the high court and supreme court judges and all India services. The government has accepted the majority of recommendations of the commission and issued orders.[9]

Salary of Chief Justice of India
Date Salary
1 January 1996 INR33000 (US$520)[8]
1 January 2006 INR100000 (US$1,600)[7]

See also[edit]

List of Chief Justices of India

External links[edit]