The President appointed the Supreme Court's most senior judge, Justice Dipak Misra, as the next Chief Justice of India. He will succeed incumbent Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar to become the 45th CJI and will have a tenure of a little over a year.
Justice Misra will take oath on August 27 and will retire on October 2 next year.The soft-spoken Justice Misra grew in stature by acceding to Mumbai serial blasts condemned prisoner Yakub Memon's last minute dash for life by listing in open court his plea for stay of his hanging. In the dead of the night on July 29, he agreed to head a bench to conduct an elaborate hearing before rejecting his plea. Memon was hanged on July 30.
Justice Misra-headed benches have upheld the constitutional validity of Sections 499 and 500 of IPC providing for criminal defamation proceedings as also the death penalty for convicts in the gruesome Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
As chairman of National Legal Services Authority, he has introduced several measures to provide legal aid to poor litigants. Recently, he had ordered introduction of video conferencing at state legal services authorities to connect poor prisoners languishing in jails with advocates who would free services.
Justice Misra becomes the third person from Odisha to become CJI. Earlier, his paternal uncle Justice Ranganath Misra (1990-91) and Justice G B Pattanaik (2002) had occupied the top post in judiciary.
Born on October 3, 1953, Justice Misra's judgments reflect the literary and poetic skills which he appears to have inherited from his grandfather and celebrated Odia personality Pandit Godabarish Misra. The literary figure had three sons -Raghunath Misra, Ranganath Misra and Loknath Misra, who was a renowned Congress leader and governor of Assam from 1991 to 1997. Justice Misra enrolled as an advocate on February 14, 1977, and rose to top post after 40 years. He had practised in constitutional, civil, criminal, revenue, service and sales tax matters in Orissa HC.
He was appointed additional judge of Orissa HC on January 17, 1996 and transferred to MP HC on March 3, 1997.