(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, who retires today, had a short but eventful tenure as the country's top judge in which he presided over two constitutional benches that pronounced landmark judgments on triple talaq and the right to privacy.
Khehar, who took over on January 4, had a tenure of just 237 days, of which he presided over court number one for 124 days as the country's top court was closed for 113 days on account of weekends, festival holidays and summer break.
Though his working tenure seemed too short for anything substantial in terms of judicial pronouncements, they were eventful with benches headed by Justice Khehar setting aside instant triple talaq as unconstitutional and holding that right to privacy was a fundamental right.
Prior to becoming the chief justice, he presided over the constitution benches that held that the Constitution's 99th amendment, paving way for the National Judicial Appointment Commission for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, was unconstitutional.
Described as a strong judge by his predecessor Tirath Singh Thakur, Justice Khehar had pronounced restoration of then Arunachal chief minister Nabam Tuki's government.
He was also part of the bench headed by now retired judge K S Radhakrishan that had ordered the Sahara group to return investors' money that its two companies had raised from the market in 2008 and 2009. It was the same bench that had sent group chief Subrata Roy and two other Sahara directors to jail for not complying with the court's orders.
A no-nonsense Judge, the bench headed by him imposed a cost of Rs2.5mn on an NGO for filing frivolous petitions and casting aspersions on the judges of the Rajasthan High Court.
On Thursday, a day before his last working day in the court, he had imposed a cost of Rs1mn each on two people who had moved the court to seek that the procedure laid down in the Constitution be followed in appointment of Justice Dipak Misra as his successor, describing it as a 'publicity stunt litigation.
Born in Kenya where he had his primary education, Justice Khehar credits his success to his father who had taught him to pursue life with perseverance, hard work and the ability to accept failures. His successor, Justice Dipak Misra says that he gets freedom in working hard while some call him a 'workaholic.
Khehar was also perceived to be on comfortable terms with the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a few months ago said he wished that Khehar had a longer tenure than just eight months as he enjoyed working with him.
Chief Justice-designate Justice Misra will be sworn in as the 45th chief justice of India today morning.
He was the author of the constitution bench judgment that had ruled that criminal defamation was not unconstitutional and he passed an order making it mandatory the playing of national anthem in the cinema halls.
He along with Justice P C Pant and Justice Amitava Roy will be remembered for sitting through the night to hear last-minute appeal by 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts accused Yaqub Memon against his death sentence.
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