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What CJI Bobde left for Indian Judiciary?

Shristi, Intern, Legal Angles Patna

Diksha, Intern, Legal Angles Patna

Shri. S.A. Bobde was appointed as the 47th Chief Justice of India on 18th November 2020 and retired on 23th April 2021 ;just a day before his 65th birthday after completing his 17 months tenure and had former tenure of eight years in the apex court. CJI Bobde was enrolled as a lawyer in 1978. He practiced before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court for almost 21 years. He was designated the post of Senior Advocate in 1998. He was Made the Judge of the Bombay High Court in March 2000 and was made the Chief Justice Of Madhya Pradesh High Court In October 2012. He was upraised to the Supreme Court on April 12 ,2013 and was sworn in as CJI on November 18,2019 .

CJI Bobde is unanimously known for his work during the COVID19 pandemic. In the year 2020 when the world was suffering from the COVID19 pandemic and the Supreme Court also took a call to close all the Courts, but then the CJI Bobde came up the idea of having Virtual proceedings without going to the court and almost 50,000 cases were disposed off . CJI bobde played a big role in ensuring the courts to remain functional amid the pandemic. Before ritering from the post ,CJIBobde delivered 2 orders on Tuesday i.e. 23rd April , which can help to reduce the pendency of cases in the High Court. A 3 judge Bench of CJI bobde , Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant issued binding directions to streamline the appointment of the High Court judges , within specified timelines. CJI Bobde will be remembered for his great handling of the Criminal Justice System.

CJI is considered as the head of collegium that decides the appointment of judges , Being the head of Judiciary of India & Supreme Court the CJI heads his administrative function and has several special powers as head of Supreme Court the CJI is responsible for allocating cases and appointing constitutional benches that deal with important matters due which he is often referred as the ‘Master of Roster’. CJI also acts as the President of the country when the office of President and Vice President are vacant.

Now , undoubtedly he will be remembered for great contribution in delivering landmark historical judgments ; he is popularly known for loving and caring behavior with amazing sense of humor .He will be remembered as for handling criminal justice system in harmonious manner without running into controversies although he did court his own set of controversies.

Landmark Key Verdicts :

Ram Janmabhoomi - Babri Masjid Case

This case is popularly known as Ayodhya Dispute . In this this case Supreme Court of India has overturned the 2010 Allahabad High Court Judgment that divided the title of Ram Janambhoomi /Babri masjid site . The bench which gave this judgment comprised of Ranjan Gogoi ,D.Y Chandrachud , Ashok Bhushan ,Abdul Nazeer and Sharad Arvind Bobde .

This case was one of the India’s most controversial and debatable judgment which was pending since 1950 .

CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde played a vital role and was on the 5-Judge constitution bench which gave the unanimous judgment .

Sexual Harassment and the CJI Case

In Re : Matter of great Public Importance highlighting upon the Independence of judiciary was a suo moto case which began in April 2019 after the publication of details of complaint by the SC Staff against the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi . She alleged that she was sexually harassed by Ranjan Gogoi and sought Mishra , RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta also in-house committee was set up to look into the allegations consisting of Justice SA Bobde ,NV Ramana & Indira Banerjee . The committee submitted its report and it had found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint .

Justice Puttaswamy (Redt)& Others v. Union of India (2017)

In this landmark judgment , then Justice Arvind Bobde was a member of the 9 judge bench which ruled that Right to privacy was a constitutionally protected fundamental right in India under Article 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution .

Majority judgment in this case was authored by Justice Chandrachud and Sharad Arvind Bobde gave a concurring opinion in this case . It was thhe historic judgment in which the decision in M.P Sharma and Kharak Singh was overruled and Right to privacy was realized as an intrinsic part of right to life and personal liberty.

Justice Bobde observed that consent was essential for distribution of inherently personal data such as health records. He was also part of three judge bench that clarified no citizen of India can be denied basic services and government services.

Ban on Firecrackers

Notably three – judge bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Sharad Arvind Bobde ,T.S Thakur and Arjun Kumar Sikri gave a judgment and suspended the sale of firecracker in National Capital Region due to the extreme air pollution.It was the first time in 2016 that ban on sale was imposed .

E- Court

As COVID-19 pandemic forced courts to move to virtual hearing , a major shift also took in matter of filing the cases. Supreme Court under CJI Bobde launched and moved forward for new e-filing module . Though the facility has been with us from decade but it was little inconvenient .But as per the need of scenario due to pandemic e-filing, e-hearing is the much needed impetus by the apex court . Now it made filing cases completely electronic.

He further quoted “ Let Justice be done though heavens may fall”.

Migrant Labor Crisis During Lockdown

It was one of the controversial decision by the top court under CJI SA Bobde’s leadership . During 1st phase of covid-19 lockdown , SC has received various petitions regarding plight of the migrant labors who were walking day and night just to reach their hometowns. As per center migrants were not facing such issue but on the contrary media and news channel reports were continuously alarming . The Supreme Court passed directions to provide free transportation and food to migrants.

Farm Laws

Suspension of farm laws by SC was another major decision under CJI Bobde . Apex Court in January stayed the implementation of three controversial farm laws which attracted the protest of farmers. A three-judge bench led by CJI Bobde had ordered formation of an expert committee to look into the matter .

He further added “ No power can prevent us from making committee”.

Aadhaar Card

Justice Bobde was a part of three-judge bench along with Justice Chelameswar and C Nagappan that held that no Indian Citizen should be deprived of basic services and government subsidies on basis of the fact that he does not hold and Aadhaar Card.

Dowry death

Justice Bobde has cautioned the courts from proceeding with the trial when police had roped in all the relatives of husband as accused of dowry cases .

He further said court’s should be careful in proceeding against the distant relatives in crimes pertaining to matrimonial issues and dowry cases. The Court held that the relatives of the husband should not be roped in on the basis of allegation unless their involvement in the crime are made out.

Controversies during Justice Bobde Incumbency :

1. On 28th June 2020 , CJI Bobde’s picture seated on a Harley Davidson went viral which attracted controversy since he was not wearing mask or a helmet . Senior Advocate of Supreme Court Prashant Bhushan tweeted this and huge number of critics were witnessed for contempt of court . The whole issue was widely in news at that time and received its fair share of controversy .

2. In March 2021 while hearing Justice Bobde made a statement asking accused in rape case whether the the man will marry the victim . The remarks caused a debate in the media regarding the CJI’s observation in the case . Later he clarified that his statement was misreported and apologies for the same .

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