The faces behind ‘the extraordinary event in the history of this nation’
Justice Jasti Chelameswar
Born on June 23, 1953, Justice Jasti Chelameswar was elevated to the Supreme Court on October 10, 2011 — the same day Justice Dipak Misra, three and a half months younger, also became an apex court judge.
Justice Misra subsequently superseded Justice Chelameswar. A native of the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Justice Chelameswar has headed the high courts in Andhra, Assam and Kerala. A persistent dissenting voice, he was the lone judge on a constitution bench to dissent with the judgment scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission law in October 2015. Later, he boycotted collegium meetings. Recently, his decision to list a medical college scam case to a constitution bench was overturned by Justice Misra on the ground that Justice Chelameswar did not have the administrative powers to do so
Justice Kurian Joseph
Born in November 1953 and educated in Kerala, Justice Joseph became a high court judge in 2000. He has held
several posts, including that of president of the Kerala Judicial Academy and the chairman of Lakshadweep Legal Services Authority. He has also served twice as the acting chief justice of Kerala High Court before being appointed the chief justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. He was elevated to the Supreme Court in March 2013
Justice Ranjan Gogoi
The youngest of the four and tipped to be the next Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi was appointed permanent judge of Gauhati High Court in February 2001. Transferred to Punjab and Haryana High Court in September 2010, he went on to head the bench a few months later and held the office of chief justice of the high court till April 2012 when he was elevated to the Supreme Court
Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur
A product of Delhi’s Modern School, St Stephen’s College and Law Faculty, Justice Lokur was a central government counsel for six years from 1990, and additional solicitor-general of India for a few months in the late 1990s before he was made additional judge of Delhi High Court. He headed Gauhati High Court and then the one in Andhra Pradesh. He was elevated to the Supreme Court in June 2012.
Justice Dipak Misra
He enrolled as an advocate in 1977 and practised in Orissa High Court. Has headed the high courts in Bihar and Delhi. Justice Misra took oath as the Chief Justice of India on August 28, 2017. His tenure will end on October 2, this year.
Part of the bench that confirmed the death sentence on Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon during a midnight hearing. One of the most eloquent judges, Justice Misra and some lawyers have had some heated exchanges in court. The Ayodhya land title dispute is being heard by a bench headed by him. Key verdicts include that in the December 16 Delhi gangrape and murder case in which death sentences were awarded, the Sebi-Sahara case, the BCCI reforms case and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. Justice Misra had also mandated the playing of the national anthem before the screening of films. The order was recently modified by a bench that included Justice Misra.