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Chief Justices of India


The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India. The CJI also heads their administrative functions.

As head of the supreme court, the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law. In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the Chief Justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.

There are a total of 46 Chief Justices of India that have served since the establishment of the Supreme Court of India in 1950, which superseded the Federal Court of India.

The Federal Court of India came into being on 1 October 1937. The seat of the court was the Chamber of Princes in the Parliament building in Delhi. It began with a Chief Justice and two puisne judges. The first Chief Justice was Sir Maurice Gwyer and the other two judges were Sir Shah Muhammad Sulaiman and M. R. Jayakar. It functioned until the establishment of the Supreme Court of India on 28 January 1950.

On the administrative side, the Chief Justice carries out the following functions: maintenance of the roster; appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court. However this convention has been broken twice. In 1973, Justice AN Ray was appointed superseding 3 senior judges. Also, in 1975 Justice MH Beg was appointed as the CJI superseding Justice HR Khanna.

List of Chief Justices of India :

S No. Name Office Tenure
1. Harilal J. Kania 26 January 1950 — 6 November 1951
2. M. Patanjali Sastri 7 November 1951 — 3 January 1954
3. Mehar Chand Mahajan 4 January 1954 — 22 December 1954
4. B. K. Mukherjea 23 December 1954 — 31 January 1956
5. S. R. Das  1 February 1956 — 30 September 1959
6. Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha  1 October 1959 — 31 January 1964
7. P. B. Gajendragadkar 1 February 1964 — 15 March 1966
8. A. K. Sarkar 16 March 1966 — 29 June 1966
9. K. Subba Rao 30 June 1966 — 11 April 1967
10. K. N. Wanchoo 12 April 1967 — 24 February 1968
11. M. Hidayatullah 25 February 1968 — 16 December 1970
12. J. C. Shah 17 December 1970 — 21 January 1971
13. S. M. Sikri 22 January 1971 — 25 April 1973
14. A. N. Ray 26 April 1973 — 27 January 1977
15. M. H. Beg  28 January 1977 — 21 February 1978
16. Y. V. Chandrachud 22 February 1978 — 11 July 1985
17. Prafullachandra Natvarlal Bhagwati 12 July 1985 — 20 December 1986
18. R. S. Pathak 21 December 1986 — 18 June 1989
19. E. S. Venkataramiah 19 June 1989 — 17 December 1989
20. S. Mukharjee 18 December 1989 — 25 September 1990
21. Ranganath Mishra 26 September 1990 — 24 November 1991
22. K. N. Singh 25 November 1991 — 12 December 1991
23. M. H. Kania 13 December 1991 — 17 November 1992
24. L. M. Sharma 18 November 1992 — 11 February 1993
25. M. N. Venkatachaliah 12 February 1993 — 24 October 1994
26. A. M. Ahmadi 25 October 1994 — 24 March 1997
27. J. S. Verma 25 March 1997 — 17 January 1998
28. M. M. Punchhi 18 January 1998 — 9 October 1998
29. A. S. Anand 10 October 1998  —  11 January 2001
30. Sam Piroj Bharucha 11 January 2001  —  06 May 2002
31. B. N. Kripal 06 May 2002  —  08 November 2002
32. G. B Pattanaik 08 November 2002  —  19 December 2002
33. V. N. Khare 19 December 2002  —  02 May 2004
34. S. Rajendra Babu 02 May 2004  —  01 June 2004
35. R. C. Lahoti 01 June 2004  —  01 November 2005
36. Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal 01 November 2005  —  13 January 2007
37. K. G. Balakrishnan 14 January 2007  —  11 May 2010
38. S. H. Kapadia 12 May, 2010  —  28 Sept, 2012
39. Altamas Kabir 29 Sept, 2012  —  18 July 2013
40. P. Sathasivam 19 July 2013  —  26 April 2014
41. Rajendra Mal Lodha 27 April 2014  —  27 September 2014
42. H. L. Dattu 28 September 2014 —  2 December 2015
43. T. S. Thakur 3 December 2015  —  3 January 2017
44. Jagdish Singh Khehar 4 January 2017 - 27 August 2017
45. Dipak Misra 28 August 2017 - 2 October 2018
46. Ranjan Gogoi 3 October 2018 - 17 November 2019
47. Sharad Arvind Bobde 18 November 2019 - 23 April 2021

Last updated on: 29/10/2019

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