Altamas Kabir, former Chief Justice of India, no more

Justice Altamas Kabir (1948-2017)   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court Altamas Kabir passed away here on Sunday. He was 68. Suffering from kidney-related ailments, Justice Kabir was admitted to a private hospital in the city last week.

“Mr Altamas Kabir, Hon’ble Former Chief Justice of India, passed away at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata, 2:52 p.m. on Sunday,” said a statement issued by the hospital.

Nephew of the well-known Bengal writer and politician, Humayun Kabir, Altamas Kabir was known for his erudition and tongue-in-cheek humour.

Born on July 19, 1948 in Kolkata, Justice Kabir completed his LLB and MA from the University of Calcutta. The soft-spoken judge started his legal career in 1973 when he enrolled as an advocate. He was appointed a permanent judge in the Calcutta High Court on August 6, 1990 and Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court on March 1, 2005.

Later that year, he was elevated to the Supreme Court on September 9. Three years later, he was appointed the 39th Chief Justice of India on September 29, 2012. He retired on July 18, 2013 after a brief tenure of about nine months.

Justice Kabir’s amicable behaviour endeared him to fellow judges and lawyers.


During his brief tenure as Chief Justice of India, Justice Kabir delivered several landmark judgments particularly on human rights and election laws.

As the Chief Justice, he was part of the Supreme Court Bench which heard the case of the two Italian marines in 2013.

In another noted judgement in December 2012 as the Chief Justice of India, Justice Kabir along with Justice H.L. Dattu directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go ahead with its probe into the disproportionate assets case against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav.

In May 2011, Justice Kabir with Justice Cyriac Joseph, quashed the disqualification of 11 BJP MLAs by the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah as it did not fulfil the criterion of natural justice and fair play.

Expressing her condolences Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Condolences on the passing of fmr [former] CJ [Chief Justice of India] Altamas Kabir ji. My thoughts with his family/colleagues. India & Bengal have lost a legal luminary.”

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 8:27:34 AM |

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