CJI Misra completes tenure

CJI Misra completes tenure

Dipak Misra. Credit: PTI

Outgoing Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra would go down in the annals of judicial history as the one who faced the most serious charges not only from his own brother judges but also from people outside the Supreme Court.

He completed his term as the 45th Chief Justice of India on Tuesday.

Justice Misra, who hailed from Odisha, was a part of the Constitution bench, which delivered several landmark judgement on civil liberties, rights and constitutional principles like Aadhaar, entry of women to Sabarimala temple, decriminalising adultery and Section 377 of the IPC.

He also led the bench which resolved the protracted Cauvery water dispute. He also issued directions against mob lynching and cow vigilantism, among others.

A nephew of former CJI Rangnath Misra, Justice Misra assumed office as the head of judiciary on August 28, 2017 for being the senior most.

Immediately thereafter, he took a bold administrative decision to put all Collegium recommendations on appointment of high courts and the Supreme Court judges on the apex court's websites.

But his decision to list more than 100 cases and putting all PILs in his own basket, triggered murmurs in the court corridors.

Barely a couple of months later, a medical colleges scam was unearthed.

Two PILs were filed making direct allegations against the CJI's involvement.

It was pleaded that a Constitution bench without the CJI must be set up to monitor the CBI probe already being undertaken to ensure that the prestige of the institution in the eyes of the public remained intact.

Justice J Chelameswar, who was the senior most, ordered for setting up the Constitution bench.

It, however, did not take longer than a day for the CJI to set up a Constitution bench to overturn the order and declare that the CJI was the master of roster and no other judge can hear a matter unless assigned by the CJI.

Meanwhile, another unsavoury controversy on death of Mumbai judge, B H Loya on December 1, 2014 broke out. Since Loya was then hearing the Soharabuddin Sheikh encounter case, involving BJP president Amit Shah, it invited a political storm.

A couple of PILs were filed in the SC, seeking setting up an SIT. As the PIL was posted before a bench presided over by Justice Arun Mishra, immediately charges started flying thick and fast that CJI was working under pressure.

At the same time, all hell broke loose when four senior most judges came out in public and addressed a press conference, claiming that the cases with far reaching consequences were being assigned to select benches.

The Ayodhya case hearing also courted controversy with counsel openly asking him not to decide it.

Finally, came an impeachment motion against him. This was the most tumultuous time for Misra.

But much to his credit, he kept his silence all the time and continued to perform his functions.

In his farewell speech, he said, "History can be sometimes kind and unkind but I don't judge people by their activities but their perspectives".