NEW DELHI (TIP): Justice T S Thakur will take over as the next Chief Justice of India on December 2. He will succeed Justice H L Dattu, who will demit office next month. Justice Thakur, the senior-most judge of the apex court, would be the 43rd chief justice of India.

His name was recommended to the government by current CJI Justice Dattu on Monday. It has been a convention for the sitting CJI to recommend the name of the senior-most judge as his successor a month before retirement. The law ministry will forward the file of Justice Thakur’s appointment to the Prime Minister’s Office. His warrant of appointment will be issued when the President approves it.

Justice Thakur, who was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court in November 2009, will have a tenure of little over one year. He would retire on January 4, 2017.

Justice Thakur, 63, has been associated with a host of significant judgments. He led the bench which had delivered the verdict on reforming the BCCI following the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. The Justice Lodha Committee, which has issued a slew of recommendations relating to IPL and BCCI, had also been set up by his bench. In February 2015, a bench headed by him ruled on the contours of Article 25, which prescribes freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. It held that polygamy was not an integral part of any religion and that the State could regulate such practices in the interest of public order, health and morality. By a judgment in 2014, Justice Thakur’s bench set a stricter scrutiny for those interested in joining police force. It ruled

that any person who has faced a criminal case cannot get a job in the police force, even if he or she is acquitted or reaches a settlement under the law. “A candidate to be recruited to the police service must be worthy of confidence and must be a person of utmost rectitude and must have impeccable character and integrity. A person having criminal antecedents will not fit in this category,” it said. In 2013, Justice Thakur’s bench made it compulsory for all the courts to determine the aspect of compensation for victims in every criminal case. Regretting the “neglect” of a legal provision on award of compensation to the victims of crimes, the bench headed by him, had sent its order to all high courts for intimation and strict compliance. The first-ever official exercise to map the drug menace in India was also carried out on the orders of the bench headed by Justice Thakur in 2012. The three-year-long exercise revealed that of the 51.4 lakh kg of narcotics confiscated across the country over the last 10 years, only 16 lakh kg were destroyed. The bench headed by him is currently examining various important issues, including Ganga cleaning, Saradha chit fund scam case, NRHM scam, One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP) case, Sahara investors’ refund etc.

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