Seized of a Challenge to Resurrect SC’s Image, CJI SA Bobde Not One to Shy Away From Controversies

CNN-News18

New Delhi: Beyond the pale of the tailored court room structure, a judge who talks about artificial intelligence, social media and most modern technologies - that's new Chief Justice of India SA Bobde for you.

A fourth generation lawyer but a first generation judge who keeps keen interests in photography and motor bikes, Justice Bobde comes across as a person dismissive of the notion 'all work and no play' even as he takes the baton from predecessor Justice Ranjan Gogoi. He was administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday morning.

The 47th CJI and the eighth one from the Mumbai Bar, Justice Bobde believes the exclusive purpose of becoming a judge is to deliver justice - by handling the paper case files before you as well as by employing the modern technological tools that may streamline the system.

Speaking to the CNN-News18 after the Presidential notification of his appointment as the first judge of the country, Justice Bobde had reassured that not just the present challenges posing before the judiciary, his tenure will attempt at devising a mechanism to lay down a system for all times to come.

His tenure in the Supreme Court witnessed some of the most controversial moments in the history of the highest judiciary, starting the January 2018 press conferences by four of his brother judges against some steps by then CJI Dipak Misra, and most recently the sexual harassment charges against his predecessor.

Justice Bobde never spoke out in the press on any of these controversies even though he headed the three-judge panel that gave a clean chit to Justice Gogoi.

The sheer decision to head the panel after another future CJI, Justice NV Ramana, had opted out may help in understanding him when Justice Bobde says he is not the one who will shy away from doing what he thinks is in the best interest of the institution and the people.

Another instance of Justice Bobde's resoluteness could be his readily agreeing to be a part of the five-judge Constitution Bench to decide the Ayodhya case despite knowing the controversies the matter is bound to be mired into.

His bench is seized of yet another sensitive matter - the Central government's decision to give quota benefits to economically weaker sections irrespective of their castes. But given the history, Justice Bobde looks all set to decide this and many more.

What remains to be seen, however, would be the new CJI's endeavours to resurrect the image of the Supreme Court following the spell of controversies surrounding two of his immediate predecessors, Justice Gogoi and Justice Misra.