|Chief Justice of India|
|Bhārat Gaṇarājya ke Mukhya Nyāyādhīśa|
|Residence||6, Krishna Menon Marg, Sunehri Bagh, New Delhi, Delhi, India|
|Seat||Supreme Court of India, New Delhi, Delhi, India|
|Nominator||Collegium of the Supreme Court of India|
|Appointer||President of India|
|Term length||Until the age of 65|
|Constituting instrument||Constitution of India (under Article 124)|
|Formation||28 January 1950|
|First holder||H. J. Kania (1950–1951)|
|Salary||₹280,000 (US$3,700) (per month)|
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|Judiciary of India|
|Law of India|
The chief justice of India (IAST: Bhārat Gaṇarājya ke Mukhya Nyāyādhīśa), officially the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India, is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of India as well as the highest-ranking officer of the Indian federal judiciary. The Constitution of India grants power to the president of India to appoint, in consultation with the outgoing chief justice, the next chief justice, who will serve until they reach the age of sixty-five or are removed by impeachment. As per convention, the name suggested by the incumbent chief justice is almost always the next senior most judge in the Supreme Court.
However this convention has been broken twice. In 1973, Justice A. N. Ray was appointed superseding 3 senior judges. Also, in 1977 Justice Mirza Hameedullah Beg was appointed as the chief justice superseding Justice Hans Raj Khanna.
As head of the Supreme Court, the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law. In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the chief justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to them (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.
On the administrative side, the chief justice carries out functions of maintenance of the roster, appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.
As the incumbent chief justice approaches retirement, the Ministry of Law and Justice seeks a recommendation from the incumbent chief justice. Consultations with other judges might also take place. The recommendation is then presented to the prime minister, who passes the advice on to the president.
Article 124(4) of Constitution of India lays down the procedure for removal of a judge of Supreme Court which is applicable to chief justices as well. Once appointed, the chief justice remains in the office until the age of 65 years or 6 years which one firstly completed. He can be removed only through a process of removal by Parliament as follows:
A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
The president (Discharge of Functions) Act, 1969[sentence fragment] of India provides that the chief justice of India shall act as the president of India in the event of the offices of both the president and the vice president being vacant. When President Zakir Hussain died in office, Vice President V. V. Giri, acted as the president. Later, Giri resigned as the vice president. The chief justice, Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah then became the acting president of India. As per the convention, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court became the acting chief justice. When the newly elected president took office a month later, Justice Hidayatullah reverted as the chief justice of India.
The Constitution of India gives the power of deciding remuneration as well as other conditions of service of the chief justice to the Parliament of India. Accordingly, such provisions have been laid down in The Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958. This remuneration was revised in 2006–2008, after the sixth Central Pay Commission's recommendation.
In 2018, in an unprecedented act, four supreme court justices spoke out against the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Though the chief justice's powers and duties have been considered equivalent to the other justices of the Supreme Court, under Misra, the court established the chief justice as the "Master of Roster" and pronounced that the chief justice "alone has the prerogative to constitute the benches of the court and allocate cases to the benches so constituted" even if the case involved accusations against the chief justice themselves, thus creating the provision to violate the in causa sua principle of natural justice.[needs update]