Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud, who takes over from Justice UU Lalit as the 50th Chief Justice of India (CJI) today, has been part of many landmark judgments, either as the author of the verdict or of dissenting opinions on the main judgment.
Chandrachud – who will have a term of two years till November 10, 2024 – was part of the landmark Right to Privacy case (KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India), where a nine-judge Bench held that the Constitution guarantees each individual a fundamental right to privacy. In a related matter, he was the sole dissenter when the apex court heard challenges to the Aadhaar Act. He held that the Act was unconstitutionally passed as a Money Bill.
In another landmark case that decriminalised section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that dealt with same-sex intercourse, he held the section to be an “anachronistic colonial law” that violated the fundamental rights to equality, freedom of expression, life and privacy.
In a recent verdict, Justice Chandrachud said unmarried women, too, have the right to abortion up to 24 weeks, which is the same as that for married women. Earlier, unmarried women could only choose abortion up to 20 weeks.
Ahead of his swearing in, here are some significant judgments the new CJI was part of since his elevation to the Supreme Court on May 13, 2016.
Arbitrators’ fees: In Oil And Natural Gas Corporation vs Afcons-Gunanusa JV, the Supreme Court said arbitrators cannot decide their fees without consulting the parties in the arbitration proceedings.
One Rank One Pension (OROP): In the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement vs Union of India case, the SC upheld the OROP scheme for armed forces personnel. The court said it did not find any constitutional infirmity in the principle and the government’s notification dated November 7, 2015.
CM executive head of Delhi: In the Government of NCT of Delhi vs UoI, the court said the Lieutenant Governor is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers on all matters where the Delhi Assembly has the power to make laws as the Chief Minister and not the LG is the executive head of the National Capital Territory (NCT) government.
Apart from these there are also many pending cases that the CJI will decide on.
Distribution of freebies to doctors: A petitioner has asked the apex court to direct the Centre to formulate a uniform code of pharmaceutical marketing practices to curb alleged unethical practices of pharma companies. During the hearing, the petitioner accused the makers of Dolo-650 of bribing doctors with freebies worth Rs 1,000 crore to recommend the pills.
Rights of personal guarantors: In Anil Ambani vs UoI, the SC will hear a petition challenging the validity of the rights of personal guarantors under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
Agnipath recruitment scheme: The Supreme Court will hear petitions against the Agnipath scheme for the armed forces, that was launched by the central government on June 14.
Tribunals: In Rojer Mathew v South Indian Bank, the Supreme Court will assess whether Part XIV of the Finance Act, 2017, dealing with the appointment, selection, eligibility, and other service conditions of members of Scheduled Tribunals was unconstitutionally enacted.
Definition of Industry: In State of Uttar Pradesh vs Jai Bir Singh, a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will reconsider the interpretation of the definition of ‘industry’ under the Industrial Disputes Act, of 1947.