Published on: August 13, 2022

49th Chief Justice of India

49th Chief Justice of India

Why in news? 

Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was appointed the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI) after President Droupadi Murmu signed his warrant of appointment.


  • Justice Lalit will have a brief tenure as he will demit office on November 8 after holding the charge as the CJI for a little under three months.
  • Justice Lalit will be the second CJI who was directly elevated to the apex court Bench from the Bar.Justice S.M. Sikri was the first lawyer to be elevated directly to the top court Bench in March 1964 and went on to become the 13th CJI in January 1971.

Landmark verdicts

  • Justice Lalit has been part of several landmark judgments, including the one which held the practice of divorce through instant triple talaq among Muslims illegal and unconstitutional. In the triple talaq verdict, while the then CJI J.S. Khehar and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold the judgment for six months and asking the government to come out with a law to that effect, Justices Kurian Joseph, R.F. Nariman and Lalit held the practice as violative of the Constitution.

About Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

  • Before his elevation as a judge, he was appointed a special public prosecutor for the CBI to conduct trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
  • Starting out at the Bombay High Court, he shifted his practice to Delhi in January 1986, and in April 2004, he was designated as a senior advocate by the apex court. He was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court on August 13, 2014.

Appointment of the CJI

The collegium system is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court (Judges Cases), and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
  • Justice Lalit is appointed under clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from 27 August, 2022.
  • As far as the CJI is concerned, the outgoing CJI recommends his successor.
  • The Union Law Minister forwards the recommendation to the Prime Minister who, in turn, advises the President.
  • SC in the Second Judges Case (1993), ruled that the senior most judge of the Supreme Court should alone be appointed to the office of the CJI.
  • The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises four other senior most judges of the court.


  • While Supreme Court judges retire on attaining the age of 65, judges of the 25 High Courts superannuate at the age of 62.

Qualifications of Judges

  • Should be a citizen of India.
  • Should have been ajudge of an HC (or HCs in succession) for five years.
  • Should have been an advocate of an HC(or HCs in succession) for ten years.
  • Should be a distinguished jurist in theopinion of the President.
  • The Constitution has not prescribed minimum age for appointmentas a judge of the SC.