Interesting and Lesser Known Facts about Justice J. Chelameswar

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A day after the top four Supreme Court judges raised some pertinent matters about the administration of the Chief Justice of Indi (CJI), here we share everything about the man of the moment Justice J. Chelameswar

Jasti Chelameswar Started His Career in Law in 1976

Justice J. Chelameswar was born in Movva Mandal of Krishna District in the state of Andhra Pradesh on 23 June, 1953. After completing his schooling, he graduated in Physics from Madras Loyola college and then studied Law in Andhra University and got his degree in 1976. In the year 1995, he was designated as a Senior Counsel and was appointed as the Additional Advocate General of the Andhra Government in the same year.

Jasti Chelameswar Was Elevated as a Judge in the Apex Court after many delays in 2011

Two years later, Justice Chelameswar took the charge as an Additional Judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh. In 2007, he became the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, and four years later in the year 2011, he was elevated as a judge in the Supreme Court. According to an Economic Times article, this elevation happened after an unexplained delay and it was because of this delay, he also missed the chance to become the Chief Justice of India.

Justice J. Chelameswar was a part of a bench that declared Section 66A of the IT Act as Unconstitutional

Justice Chelameswar was a part of the early three-judge division Bench of the Supreme Court that held the Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 as unconstitutional in March, 2015 that allowed policemen to arrest citizens on comments and/or posts made by them on social network and Internet sites. The apex court ruled out the controversial section 66A after a petition was filed by a law student post the arrest of two girls in Mumbai in 2012 following the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.  

Justice Chelameswar Ratified an Earlier Order of SC wrt Aadhaar Card

The SC bench constituting Justices J. Chelameswar, C. Nagappan and S.A. Bobde in 2015 clarified that the demands made by  officials for Aadhaar card were in clear violation of the Supreme Court’s interim order of September 23, 2013 that stated, “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card, inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory”.

Justice Chelameswar even quoted the following,

“Aadhaar is being insisted upon by various authorities. We do not want to go into specific instances. We expect the Union of India and all the States to adhere to the order dated September 23, 2013. We will take the officers concerned to task if any order comes on record making it (Aadhaar) mandatory.” Read the full judgement here.

Justice J. Chelameswar Was the Only Judge who ruled in favor of Government’s NJAC (National Judicial Appointment Commission)

Chelameswar was the lone dissenting judge on the five-judge Constitution Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar who did not agree with the other judges on the bench that scrapped the NJAC law passed by Parliament and upheld the collegium system of judicial appointments in a >majority judgment on October 16, 2015.

He said,

“Primacy of the opinion of judiciary in the matter of judicial appointments is not the only means for the establishment of an independent and efficient judiciary. To assume or assert that judiciary alone is concerned with the preservation of liberties and does that job well, is an assumption that is dogmatic, bereft of evidentiary basis and historically disproved.”

The judge attacked the collegium system, citing instances in the last 20 years when judges’ appointments triggered controversies and decisions were taken behind closed doors. “There is no accountability in this regard. The records are absolutely beyond the reach of any person including the judges of this court who are not lucky enough to become the Chief Justice of India,” he added. Justice Chelameswar underlined that allegations of unworthy appointments abound in the judiciary but the collegium provides no mechanism for audit or qualitative analysis. “Such systemic deficit has pathological consequences,” he said.

Also Read: Know the Political Leanings of Supreme Court in India


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