Justice Balakrishnan to be first Dalit CJI

Justice Balakrishnan to be first Dalit CJI
New Delhi, Dec 22 (PTI) Justice K G Balakrishnan, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, will be the new Chief Justice of India, the first-ever Dalit to occupy the coveted post.

Law Ministry sources said President A P J Abdul approved the new appointment today. He replaces Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal who is retiring on January 14, 2007.

A notification in this regard will be issued next week, the sources said.

Balakrishnan, the 37th Chief Justice, will have a tenure of three years and four months, till May 12, 2010, the day he retires.

Chief Justice Sabharwal had a tenure of 14 months while his predecessor Justice R C Lahoti had a 17 month stint.

Justice Balakrishnan was appointed judge of the apex court on June 8, 2000.

Born on May 12, 1945, in the village of Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam district of Kerala, Konakuppakattil Gopinathan Balakrishnan graduated in law from Maharaja Law College, Ernakulam.

He was enrolled as an advocate on March 16, 1968 in Kerala Bar Council of Cochin (now Kochi) and practiced both on the civil and criminal side at Ernakulam.

Later on January 10, 1973 he was appointed as munsif in Kerala judicial service and promoted as assistant sessions judge on July 23, 1982. In about a year's time he was appointed as deputy registrar (judicial) in the Kerala high court.

Following his promotion as additional judge of Kerala High Court on September 26, 1985, and permanant judge on July 11, 1986, Balakrishnan was appointed Chief Justice of Gujarat high court on July 16, 1998. Later he became Chief Justice of Madras high court on September 9, 1999, before being elevated as judge in the apex court.

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