Justice Dipak Misra will become the next Chief Justice of India, taking over from incumbent Justice JS Khehar who demits office on August 27. The soft-spoken, erudite judge will be the 45th CJI of the country and will hold office till October 2, 2018.
One of the most eloquent judges in the apex court, Justice Misra, 63, has been a part of several key verdicts, such as sending Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon and four men who raped and killed a physiotherapy intern to the gallows.
Justice Misra, who will have a tenure of over 13 months as the CJI after he takes over on August 28, has a sensitive assignment on hand – the vexatious title dispute in the Ram Mandir and Babri Masjid case.
Before he was elevated to the top court, Justice Misra showed a quiet confidence, which was to become his hallmark.
As the chief justice of the Delhi High Court, he had the court up and running within hours of a blast ripping through it. Several people died in the blast, but he refused to be fazed by the blast. “We cannot be seen as cowing down before terrorists,” he had said then, while personally ensuring that the institution was back on its feet.
He showed the same grit and commitment to constitutional values when he got the central government to revoke president’s rule in Uttarakhand.
Justice Misra also headed a three-judge bench which upheld the Delhi High Court’s verdict sentencing to death the four convicts of the sensational December 16, 2012, gang rape- cum-murder case of Delhi.
A liberal freethinker, Justice Misra advocates freedom for women, including the freedom to dance in dance bars, but is queasy about money being thrown at the dancers.
Even the most churlish lawyer concedes that Justice Misra knows his literature, philosophy, and history. His tales in the court from the Shastras are legendary.
Justice Mishra was part of the bench that ordered playing of the National anthem before the screening of films.