Today, the Central government commenced the process of appointment of the next Chief Justice of India with Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju asking the incumbent to recommend his successor, as only a month left for the retirement of CJI Lalit. The Ministry of Law and Justice tweeted, “As per the MoP on appointment of Chief Justice of India and Supreme Court Judges, today the Hon’ble Minister of Law and Justice of India for sending his recommendations for appointment of his successor.”
According to the Memorandum of Procedure governing the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office.
There is a chance for Justice D Y Chandrachud, who is the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court to serve as the CJI, if he was appointed. He will have a tenure of over two years till November 10, 2024. The MoP claims that the law minister would, at an appropriate time, seek the recommendation of the outgoing Chief Justice of India for the appointment of the next CJI.
The law minister puts it before the prime minister who advises the president on the matter of appointment, after the receipt of the recommendation of the CJI. This process is done a month prior to the retirement of the incumbent CJI. The current CJI, Lalit will retire on November 8, 2022. Post the recommendation process, once a new CJI is designated, based on convention, the collegium organised by the outgoing CJI also freezes.
So, the four names proposed by CJI Lalit on September 30 for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court are expected to be halted, till Justice Chandrachud takes over as the Chief Justice of India.