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Justice Dattu appointed next CJI

Justice Handyala Lakshminarayanaswamy Dattu was today appointed as the next Chief Justice of India and will have a tenure of 14 months.

The President is pleased to appoint Justice Dattu as CJI with effect from September 28, 2014, the Law Ministry announced here.

The present incumbent, Justice R M Lodha retires on September 27.

The seniormost judge of the Supreme Court after the CJI, Justice Dattu (63) has been heading the bench monitoring investigations into the 2G spectrum scam.

Justice Dattu, who will take charge as the 42nd CJI, retires on December 2, 2015.

“I will request for blessing of all citizens of this country to give me courage and confidence to take this institution of mine to the highest stride,” he had said on Wednesday when the file relating to his appointment reached the Prime Minister’s Office.

Justice Dattu, whose father was a school teacher, said, “it will be the happiest day of his life to head the institution of judiciary” and “at the end of the day I can only say that I will do my best to improve the institution”.

“Mine is the best institution in the world,” he added.

However, the judge, who started his legal profession from Karnataka, refused to comment on the issue of latest controversy surrounding the attempt to scrap the collegium system of appointment of judges for higher judiciary.

He joined the Supreme Court as a judge in December 2008. Born on December 13, 1950, he enrolled as an advocate in 1975 and began practising in Bangalore and dealt with all types of matters — civil, criminal, tax and Constitutional cases.

From 1983 onwards he appeared in various capacities before the Karnataka High Court including as government pleader for sales tax department, standing counsel for Income Tax department and later as government advocate. After being designated as a senior standing counsel for I-T department in 1995, Justice Dattu was elevated as a judge of the Karnataka High Court.

He was elevated as the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court in February 2007 and shortly afterwards shifted in the same capacity to the Kerala High Court.

He will be the second apex court judge to take oath as the Chief Justice of India this year. Justice Lodha took oath in April this year.

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