Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde will be taking oath as the 47th Chief Justice of India today, succeeding Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who served as the Chief Justice of India for over an year i.e. from October, 3, 2018 till November 17, 2019.
In a recent interview to Indian Express, Justice Bobde was seen reflecting on why he chose to become a judge after being a successful lawyer. He said,
“I made this conscious decision to be a judge because I am a fourth generation lawyer and I have only seen lawyers in my life. I was the only black sheep who moved towards the judiciary in that sense, and I took a conscious decision as I found being at the Bar repetitive in its rewards. I felt I should answer the call.”
Here’s all you need to know about the incoming CJI
- He was born in Nagpur on April 24, 1956.
- He completed his law from Dr. Ambekar Law College, Nagpur University in 1978 after which he practiced at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court with appearances before the principal seat at Bombay and before the Supreme Court of India. He became senior Advocate in 1998.
- He was appointed as an additional judge of Bombay High Court in 2000. He became the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court in October, 2012 and was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court of India on 12 April 2013.
- His father Arvind Bobde was advocate-general of Maharashtra in 1980 and 1985.
- His elder brother late Vinod Arvind Bobde was a senior Supreme Court lawyer who passed away on 11th June, 2016.
Interestingly, though Justice Bobde has been a part of many important judgments, he has never been a part of the minority opinions. He also has authored very few judgments compared to his predecessors. This fact, however, cannot be indicative of Justice Bobde’s contribution to the judicial system as he has been a part some of path-breaking judgments.
Here’s a list of some of the notable judgments by Justice SA Bobde
- Ayodhya [2019 SCC OnLine 1440]| He was a part of a 5-judge Constitution Bench that unanimously held that the disputed site belongs to Hindus.
- Entry Tax [(2017 12 SCC 1]|In 2017, a 9-judge bench upheld the validity of the entry tax imposed by the States on goods imported from other States by a 7:2 majority. Justice Bobde gave the majority opinion that held that States are well within their right to design their fiscal legislations to ensure that the tax burden on goods imported from other States and goods produced within the State fall equally.
- Right to Privacy [(2017) 10 SCC 1]| He was also a part of the 9-judge bench that delivered a landmark judgment unanimously where it held that the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.
- Elections vis-à-vis Religious appeals [(2017) 2 SCC 629]| Justice Bobde gave the majority verdict in a 4:3 verdict of a 7-judge bench that held that an appeal in the name of religion, race, caste, community or language is impermissible under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and would constitute a corrupt practice sufficient to annul the election in which such an appeal was made regardless whether the appeal was in the name of the candidate’s religion or the religion of the election agent or that of the opponent or that of the voter’s.
- Repromulgation of ordinance [(2017) 3 SCC 1]| A 7-judge bench held that the failure to comply with the requirement of laying an ordinance before the legislature is a serious constitutional infraction and abuse of the constitutional process. Justice SA Bobde was part of the majority opinion.
- Consecutive life sentences in a single trial [ (2016) 8 SCC 313]| He was also a part of the 5-judge bench that held that while multiple sentences for imprisonment for life can be awarded for multiple murders or other offences punishable with imprisonment for life, the life sentences so awarded cannot be directed to run consecutively.
- Aadhaar/Privacy -3 [(2015) 8 SCC 735] | Justice Bobde was also a part a the 3-judge bench that paved the way for the ‘Right to Privacy’ being declared as a fundamental right. The bench referred the question relating to validity of the Aadhaar scheme to a larger bench. It also held that till the matter was finally decided by the larger bench, it will not be mandatory for a citizen to obtain Aadhaar Card and also, production of an Aadhaar card will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen.
- Termination of pregnancy [ 2017) 3 SCC 462, (2018) 14 SCC 289 ]| Justice Bobde, along with Justice L. Nageswara Rao, has on more than one occasion, allowed women to undergo medical termination pregnancy in the light of the apprehended danger to their lives.