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CJI Thakur succeeds CJI Dattu, vows to tackle pendency in 13-month-term

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur was on Thursday sworn in as the 43rd Chief Justice of India.

President Pranab Mukherjee administered him the oath of the office.

Thakur, who succeeds Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, has a tenure of 13 months, holding the post till January 3, 2017.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of main opposition party Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani among others.

Former justices of India Justice A.M. Ahmadi, Justice A.S. Anand, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice P.Sathasivam and Justice R.M. Lodha were also present.

With an image of being soft-spoken and patient but firm judge, Chief Justice Thakur presided over the bench that delivered judgments in a number of important cases including ordering a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into Saradha chit fund scam, and striking down the amendment in the Board of Control for Cricket in India rules that permitted conflict of interest situation in the wake of betting and spot fixing allegation in the Indian Premier League's 2013 edition .

Besides this, the bench headed by him is seized of the Sahara matter wherein Sahara chief Subrata Roy was sent to judicial custody on March 4, 2014, for not complying with the apex court order to return investors' money that his two real estate companies had collected through optionally fully convertible debentures.

Born on January 4, 1952, Chief Justice Thakur was enrolled as a lawyer in October 1972 and practised in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, whose additional judge he was appointed on February 16, 1994. He was transferred to Karnataka High Court in March 1994 and became a permanent judge in September 1995. He was transferred to Delhi High Court in July 2004.

He became acting chief justice of Delhi High Court on April 9, 2008 and the chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 11, 2008 and continued to serve there till he was elevated as judge of the apex court and assumed charge on November 17, 2009.

Chief Justice Thakur considers the appointment of suitable judges to fill 400 odd vacancies as a major challenge before the judiciary which has to measure up to the expectation of the people after the apex court struck down constitution's 99th amendment and NJAC Act, 2014 and restored the collegium system for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary.

Mint reported that Thakur said during Dattu’s farewell function: “Striking down of a constitution amendment that aimed at reforming a system... whatever the jurisprudential basis may be... It has made the job of superior judges so much more onerous and difficult.

“People now feel that the Supreme Court has taken upon itself to select judges; let them do so. But let them come up to our expectations. This is a major challenge.”

“We can announce that 2016 will be the year for clearing arrears," he added on the topic of pendency of cases, proposing that a gestation period before cases hit the court would enable litigants to get their house in order before wasting court time.

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