Data | Justice Chandrachud to begin longest tenure for a CJI in a while

At the age of 62 years, 11 months and 29 days, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud will also be the youngest CJI of the last 10 years

Updated - October 26, 2022 11:35 am IST

Published - October 21, 2022 01:22 pm IST

 Justice DY Chandrachud at Supreme Court, in New Delhi. He is the 50th Chief Justice of India.

Justice DY Chandrachud at Supreme Court, in New Delhi. He is the 50th Chief Justice of India. | Photo Credit: Ravi Choudhary

On October 17, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju announced that President Droupadi Murmu has appointed Justice Dhananjaya Yashwant Chandrachud as the 50th Chief Justice of India (CJI). Justice Chandrachud will take oath on November 9, 2022, a day after incumbent CJI Justice U.U. Lalit retires from office.

D.Y. Chandrachud was born on November 11, 1959, in Mumbai, Maharashtra. After earning a bachelor’s degree from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, he went on to pursue law (LLB) from the Faculty of Law at Delhi University. He obtained a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School. Justice Chandrachud was elevated to the Supreme Court on May 13, 2016. Before that, he served as the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.

Justice Chandrachud will serve as the CJI for two years and two days until his retirement on November 10, 2024. His is expected to be the 14th longest tenure among the tenures of the 50 CJIs analysed. His term will be the longest among all the CJIs of the past decade. The 11 CJIs who were appointed after Justice S.H. Kapadia, who took charge on May 12, 2010 and who served two years, four months and 19 days in the top post, had shorter stints than what Justice Chandrachud is set to serve.

Interestingly, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s father, Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, holds the record for serving the longest term as the CJI. Justice Y.V. Chandrachud was appointed on February 22, 1978 and retired on July 11, 1985, which means he served in the top post for seven years, four months and 19 days. Justice Bhuvneshwar Prasad Sinha, India’s sixth CJI, comes a distant second with four years, four months and one day at the helm. He is followed by Justice A.N. Ray who served for three years, nine months and four days.

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Justice K.N. Singh, who was appointed as the CJI on November 25, 1991, had the shortest stint: only 17 days until his retirement. Justice S. Rajendra Babu was the other CJI whose tenure lasted for less than a month. Table 1 lists the CJIs with the longest and shortest terms. Data show that on average, a CJI has served for 1.5 years.

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In November, Justice Chandrachud will take charge at the age of 62 years, 11 months and 29 days, which will make him the 16th youngest CJI. He will be the youngest CJI in the last decade. Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, who was appointed to the post at the age of 57 years, seven months and 13 days, holds the record as the youngest CJI. Table 2 lists the youngest and oldest CJIs based on their age at the time of appointment.

Maharashtra, the State where Justice Chandrachud was born, is the State of birth for six other CJIs. Five CJIs each were born in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Chart 3 shows the number of CJIs born in various States/countries.

Delhi University, where Justice Chandrachud completed his LLB, produced three other CJIs. However, leading the list of institutions is the Government Law College in Mumbai, the alma mater of five CJIs. Chart 4 shows the names of universities/colleges attended by CJIs. Only institutions from which at least two CJIs graduated have been listed.

As shown in Table 5 , the next in line to become the CJI is Justice Sanjiv Khanna, who is expected to take over on November 11, 2024. His term will last for six months and a day. None of the next five presumptive CJI is expected to have a tenure exceeding that of Justice Chandrachud’s. Justice Surya Kant’s one year, two months and 15 days comes close. and

Source: Supreme Court of India website and The Hindu Archives

Also read: Explained | The workings of the Supreme Court collegium 

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