ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From Bar to Bench to Bar

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur superannuated on 3 January 2017. Some would term his tenure as the 43rd Chief Justice of India (CJI) tumultuous. The apex court and the union government’s relations were quite uneasy during the period. Despite various flashpoints though, the outgoing CJI’s lasting legacy is the emphatic rejection of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). Much has already been said about the suitability of the apex court’s judgment in Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v Union of India (hereafter, the “NJAC judgment”). What merits a second thought though is an aspiration floated by the outgoing CJI.

Recounting his days as a young lawyer at the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, Justice Thakur suggested amending the Constitution to remove injunctions against retiring justices rejoining the bar. To quote him, “[m]ost of us are at heart lawyers, you may become judges, but eventually when you introspect, reevaluate and reassess, you realise you are a lawyer at heart.” Articles 124 and 220 of the Constitution, in no uncertain terms, prohibit former Supreme Court judges and former “permanent judges” of state high courts from pleading before the benches that they occupied and any lower court or other authority in India, respectively.

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Updated On : 4th Aug, 2017

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