Chief Justice V.N.Khare i.e. Vishweshwar Nath Khare holds the prestigious title of having been the 33rd Chief Justice of India. He served from the 19th of December, 2002 to the 2nd of May, 2004.
Chief Justice V.N.Khare was born in Prayagraj, formerly known as Allahabad on the 2nd of May, 1939. He continued to stay in Prayagraj through his schooling days and graduated from the reputable St. Joseph’s college situated therein. An enthusiastic student, Justice Khare didn’t limit his interest to academics alone but also delved into sports. He was an exemplary cricketer who went on to represent the state of Uttar Pradesh for the Ranji Trophy matches in the year 1958. POst this, Justice Khare attended the Allahabad University for his higher studies.
Professional Life timeline:
In the year 1961, Chief Justice V.N.Khare enrolled as a pleader in the High Court of judicature at Allahabad, one of the oldest high courts in the country, situated in present-day Prayagraj. This marked the begining of his career as an Advocate. Initially in his career, Justice Khare focused almost exclusively on cases regarding Civil, Writ and Revenue petitions. On the 25th of June, 1983, Justice Khare was appointed as a Judge of the Allahabad High Court. Prior to this, he was the Chief Standing Counsel for the then Government of Uttar Pradesh. About 13 years later, in the year 1996, Justice Khare got appointed as the Chied Justice at the Allahabad High Court. Following this novel feat, he was elevated to the Supreme Court of India shortly after.
One of the most landmark judgements involving Justice Khare is hands down the 1975 infamous case of State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain. This case is more commonly referred to as the Emergency case. It involved the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Here, Justice Khare, along with his uncle S.C.Khare represented Indira Gandhi against Raj Narain, a freedom fighter turned politician who accused the then Prime Minister of electoral malpractises and won. Unfortunately, this loss of Indira Gandhi in this case ultimately led to her disqualification from her post after which she imposed Emergency in India. Justice Khare then appealed that the case be heard before the Supreme Court. It was after the Supreme Court’s decision that the country went into Emergency for a period of 19 months. This situation is a standalone case of the suspension of democracy seen in the country from Independence in 1947 to this day.
To shed a light on some of the controversies surrounding Justice Khare, the foremost would be his opinion on the 2002 Gujarat riots. Given that the judge spoke against the then Gujarat CM and current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the latter criticized his view and categorically stated that in his opinion, Judges ought to stay out of politics and reserve their comments to their field. Justice Khare was also called out for making his comments only after retiring from his position to as to ward away or delay any potential flak he may receive for the same given that the current Prime Minister has been acquitted after being accused and cited as the man behind the riots. The infamous comments were made in the year 2012 and Justice Khare retired in the year 2004. Another highly spoken of controversy regarding Justice Khare is his comment stating that Judges are above the law and his claims that he is responsible for having restored India’s judicial system from the pitiable state it was in before he got involved. Justice Khare did elaborate on his comments later on and stated that he intended to say that the current system allows judges to do as they please and he hopes that changes in the near future. Apart from the aforementioned controversies, Justice Khare is credited for being a dedicated professional who did his best and is a great role model for upcoming officials in the judiciary.
Upon retirement, Justice Khare has occasionally made appearances on television giving his opinions on current happenings. He has also been vocal with the press of various media companies regarding his take on contemporary issues every now and then. One of his statements which stands out the most among others would be his comments on the infamous and unfortunate murder of Jessica Lal by Manu Sharma, the son of Venod Sharma who is an influential politican and Member of Parliament nominated by the Congress party. Post retirement, Justice Khare has been active to a certain extent and is seen in the limelight. He is currently employed as the Chancellor of Central University of Jharkhand. In the year 2006, Justice Khare received the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour.
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