Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar took oath on Wednesday as the Chief Justice of India to become the first from Sikh community to head the Supreme Court in its nearly 67 years of existence.
CJI Khehar takes pride in being the first from his community to head the judiciary but a prouder moment for him was the presence of his 95-year-old wheel chair-bound mother at the Rashtrapati Bhavan when President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office to him.
In the last decade, whenever a judge took oath as CJI on a working day , the business of the Supreme Court used to commence half an hour late at 11 am to allow the new CJI to take wishes from colleagues, leaders of the Bar and others. But, Justice Khehar along with Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud commenced proceedings in CJI's courtroom at 10.30.
After breaking this tradition, the new CJI in the first few minutes in court did a short work of the traditional half an hour long mentioning of cases by advocates, who used to request advancing of the scheduled date of hearing for their cases. In his trademark polite yet firm remarks, he sent out a strong message no more tinkering with the already scheduled dates for hearing of cases unless there is grave urgency .
Justice Khehar, who is the 44th CJI will hold office till August 27. Justice Khehar has been a regular blood donor for last few decades, which shows his compassion for lives of others. But, he is a strict believer in protecting rule of law at any cost, even if it means brickbats and criticism. He believes in equality before law and this quality. This would bring a change in the judicial temperament in matrimonial cases. Traditionally , the courts had adopted a lenient view towards women in matrimonial cases.
Justice Khehar believes in giving importance to the merits in a case and not the gender of the litigant. Born on August 28, 1952, Khehar graduated in science from Government College, Chandigarh in 1974 and secured LL.B degree from Punjab University , Chandigarh, in 1977.