Dipak Misra sworn in as chief justice of India

New Delhi: Justice Dipak Misra was sworn in today as the 45th chief justice of India. As is the case, he was administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind at a brief ceremony in the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Misra (64), took place of JS Khehar, started his career on February 14, 1977, when he was enrolled as an advocate. From that moment onward, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Orissa High Court in 1996, and transferred to Madhya Pradesh a year later. In 2009, he became the chief justice of the Patna High Court before moving to head Delhi HC in 2010.

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On October 10, 2011, Misra was appointed to the Supreme Court.

With a tenure of more than a year, Justice Misra is going to have a tough task of filling up vacancies in High Courts and the Supreme Court. It is worthwhile mentioning in this regard that high courts in India are working with 56% strength, and the shortfall in the Supreme Court will widen to 6 when PC Pant retires on Tuesday to leave only 25 judges in India’s apex court.

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Furthermore, the contentious MOP (Memorandum of Procedure) continues to remain an unresolved issue between the government and the SC collegiums, which has dismissed the whole concept of including a security clearance clause that would give the executive an opportunity to veto superior court appointments in case of a negative remark against a proposed candidate.

Soft-spoken in nature but a man with steely resolve, Misra has issued far-reaching orders, some of which have drawn criticism. To begin with, his order making national anthem mandatory in movie halls ignited a debate whether an increasingly aggressive brand of nationalist fervour was stifling civil liberties. Furthermore, his verdict in a defamation case was similarly termed as regressive by advocates of free-speech.

But, the astuteness with which he got the NDA government to withdraw President’s rule in Uttarakhand speaks to his wisdom as a judge.

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Misra’s came into the foray when he agreed to give a early morning hearing when Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon’s lawyers rushed to the court on the night of July 29, making a last ditch effort to delay his next day’s hanging.