New Delhi: Justice T.S. Thakur has been appointed the 43rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, an official statement said on Wednesday.

Thakur will take over from incumbent Chief Justice H.L. Dattu on 3 December. He has been a judge of the apex court since November 2009.

Thakur was head of the bench that delivered the popular verdict on the controversies surrounding the Indian Premier League and initiated administrative reforms within the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

He has also been hearing cases such as those on Sahara chief Subrata Roy’s custody, the probe into the Saradha chit fund scam, the National Rural Health Mission scam in Uttar Pradesh, and the legality of allowing broadband licence holder Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd to offer voice services.

Thakur recently headed the two-judge bench, which refused to entertain a plea filed against a Bombay high court order staying the decision to ban sale of meat in Mumbai during a Jain festival.

Thakur will now head the next collegium of the Supreme Court with numerous reforms being suggested to the process of making judicial appointments.

Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi, who was asked to draft a new memorandum of procedure for appointment of apex court and high court judges on Wednesday, said he would furnish the same within 15 days.

There are, at present, four vacancies of the Supreme Court that will have to be decided by the collegium after Dattu’s retirement. Under the collegium system, a group of five seniormost Supreme Court judges appoints other judges to the higher judiciary—the high courts and the Supreme Court. Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution stipulate that judges will be appointed by the President of India after “consultation" with the Chief Justice of India and other judges.

On 5 November, a five-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by Justice J.S Khehar clarified that there is no bar on the collegium appointing judges to the top court. This bench recently declared the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, and National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014, unconstitutional.

The NJAC was to replace the collegium system of appointment of judges, with the selection being made by a panel consisting of the Chief Justice, two seniormost judges of the apex court, the law minister and two eminent persons to be appointed by a select committee of the prime minister, Chief Justice and the leader of the opposition.

Born 4 January 1952, Thakur will have tenure as Chief Justice of a little over a year and retire on 3 January 2017. Thakur was designated as a senior advocate in 1990. On 16 February 1994, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir high court and transferred as a judge of Karnataka high court in March 1994. He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995 and transferred to the Delhi high court in July 2004.

Thakur was appointed acting chief justice of the Delhi high court on 9 April 2008 and on 11 August that year, he took over as chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court.

Thakur is currently the only judge to use a microphone during proceedings of the Supreme Court and is also the executive chairperson of National Legal Services Authority, which provides free legal services to the poor.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan welcomed Thakur’s appointment. “He has always been a quiet, unassuming and judicious judge, and I expect his tenure to be a fruitful one."

Shreeja Sen contributed to this story.

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