Justice Chelameswar demits office today

The judge, who never trepidated to tread his own path, would be known for his dissent and raising uncomfortable questions. He had earlier refused an invite from the Supreme Court Bar Association for a customary farewell function, proposed on May 18. PTI file photo.

Justice J Chelameswar, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court who triggered a storm by addressing an unprecedented press conference on January 12 along with three other senior judges, will demit office on Friday.

The judge, who never trepidated to tread his own path, would be known for his dissent and raising uncomfortable questions. He had earlier refused an invite from the Supreme Court Bar Association for a customary farewell function, proposed on May 18.

Justice Chelameswar was the lone dissenting judge in the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) judgement. He had favoured collective decision making in allocation of cases, though he agreed that the CJI remained the master of roster.

As a mark of custom, Justice Chelameswar sat with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra along with Justice D Y Chandrachud on May 18, the last working day before the summer vacations.

He has been at loggerheads with the CJI over the functioning of the apex court, including the allocation of sensitive cases, and recommendation of judges for appointment to higher judiciary.

During his tenure, Justice Chelameswar strongly advocated elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph but it remained pending, though the CJI-headed five-judge Collegium had in principle accepted it after the recommendation was returned by the government.

Strong letter

He had written a strongly-worded letter after the Karnataka High Court chief justice agreed to government's suggestion for conducting an inquiry against district and sessions judge P Krishna Bhat, despite the Collegium clearing his name for elevation.

Justice Chelameswar's order to set up a Constitution bench on a PIL for probe into allegations of corruption against the judges in the medical college scam has ignited a debate in the judiciary, after the CJI-led five-judge bench overturned the decision on setting up of benches.

True to his principles, he had declared he would not take up any post-retirement job.

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Justice Chelameswar demits office today

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