Hon’ble Mr. Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar
Jagdish Singh Khehar (Born on August 28, 1952) was renowned 44th Chief Justice of India (CJI). He is known for his braveness in giving judgments in landmarks cases. He created history by becoming first Chief Justice from Sikh Community. He has been a judge in the Supreme Court for a period of six years from 2011 to 2017. He served as judge for a short time but give many landmark judgments which include Triple Talaq, Fundamental Right To Privacy, 2G Spectrum case. Justice Khehar was appointed as CJI by President Pranab Mukherjee on 4th January 2017, preceded by Justice T. S. Thakur and succeeded by Justice Deepak Misra.
Journey of Former Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar
The birth place of Justice Khehar is Nairobi & he got citizenship of India in 1965, In 1974, he graduated from Government Law College in Chandigarh before went on to Panjab University in Chandigarh to practice law. Justice Khehar began practising law in 1979 after completing his legal studies. He mostly practised only in the Punjab & Haryana High Courts, the Himachal Pradesh High Court, as well as the Indian Supreme Court. From 1982 to 1986, Justice Khehar worked as a lecturer at Panjab University’s Law Faculty in addition to his legal practice.
He was designated as Additional Advocate General for the State of Punjab in 1992 as well as Senior Standing Counsel for the Union Territory of Chandigarh. In 1995, he was appointed a Senior Advocate.
Justice Khehar was appointed to the Punjab & Haryana High Court in 1999 after 20 years at the bar, where he served as Acting Chief Justice on two occasions between 2008 & 2009. And also in November 2009, h e was appointed as the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court , a decade after his original appointment as a judge, & soon afterwards relocated to the High Court of Karnataka in August 2010. Justice Khehar received his final judicial appointment as a Supreme Court judge on September 13, 2011.
Justice Thakur wrote 176 judgments during his 6- year tenure on the Supreme Court. He was most active in 2014, when he handed down 34 judgments & was a part of total 63 benches.
In his tenure as a Judge in Supreme Court of 6 years, Justice Khehar mostly worked on criminal case as compared to civil, services or constitutional matters. He also deals with landmark cases of judicial appointments, the freedom of religion & right to liberty under constitution, which we discussed below;
Landmark & Notable Judgements headed by Justice Khehar
- Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v. Union of India
- Right to Privacy verdict
- Triple Talaq Case
- 2G Spectrum Case
Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v. Union of India
As a Chief Justice of India, Justice Khehar headed a five judges constitutional bench in order to decide or adjudicate the validity Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 as well asThe National Judicial Appointment Act, 2014. In Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v. Union of India, the five judges bench held that the Act & Amendment, 2014 were unconstitutional as it violating the basic structure of the constitution. According to the bench the most crucial element of the basic structure is independence of judiciary. Therefore, the interference & involvement of political officials & leaders in the judicial appointment process might clashed with judicial independence.
Justice Khehar along with Justice SA Bobde in the year 2016 upheld in the case of State of Punjab v. Jagjit Singh a principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’. The 2 judges bench deciding that if employees on temporary basis were permit to get the same pay as that of permanent employees. The bench ruled out that, the temporary employees could not be denied of minimum wages in any case, by invoking Articles 14, 38(2) & 39 of the Indian Constitution.
Justice Khehar decided on the governor’s authority & the extent of judicial review in the same year in the case of Nabam Rebia v Deputy Speaker. In this case, the Court was concerned about 2 aspects of the dissolution of the Arunanchal Pradesh Legislative Assembly: first, the Governor’s decision to accelerate the assembly session & to replace the speaker, & second, the speaker’s disqualification of MLAs. The Court decided that the Governor does not have broad discretionary powers and also that the governor can only use his or her discretion if the council of ministers advises him or her to do so. Disqualification of members to lower the number of members ‘present & voting’ was also found to be unlawful & unconstitutional.
Right to Privacy verdict
Justice Khehar agreed with Justice Chandrachud in KS Puttaswamy v Union of India in 2017, stating that the right to privacy was an intrinsic component of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. According to the verdict, privacy is strongly linked to the concepts of liberty & dignity. It goes hand in hand with a person’s right to control their own personality. The concept that some basic or inherent rights are inextricably linked to human personality gives rise to the right to privacy.
Triple Talaq Case
This case of Shayara Bano v. Union of India was decided by the 5-Jdges bench of Supreme Court & declared ‘Triple Talaq’ as unconstitutional & the same was strike down by majority of 3:2. In this case, Justice Khehar wrote a dissenting opinion in a decision declaring triple talaq to be unconstitutional. He said that Article 25 of the Indian Constitution safeguarded the practise of ‘Talaq-e-biddat’. He emphasised that the legislature must make a decision on the issue. Justice Khehar issued a temporary restraining order against the use of triple talaq and instructed the legislature to rule on its legality & validity.
2G Spectrum Case
Following the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement in the 2G spectrum issue, the Indian government filed a Presidential referral with the court. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Khehar stressed that the government should not be under the misguided impression that natural resources through auctioning is not required.
“No part of the natural resource can be dispersed for private exploitation as a result of largess (kindness) , charity, donation, or endowment. Every bit of natural resource expended must bring back a reciprocal consideration”.
– Justice J. S. Khehar, Supreme Court of India
The Committee on Judicial Accountability in the year 2017, published a suicide note written be Kalikho Pul (former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh). In the said suicide note the former CM Mr. Pul put allegation on Justice Khehar that he had demanded bribery of 49 crore & 31 crore from Pul, in order to deliver the judgement (decision)in his favour. The Committee on Judicial Accountability also pleaded inquiry for the same case. Further, the widow of Kalikho Pul also put sensational allegation against Justice Khehar in the hon’ble supreme court just before when she withdraw her letter demanding a CBI investigation of her husband’s 60 pages suicide note.
Image Source: India Legal
Image Source: Deccan Herald
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