Former Chief Justice of India
Assumed Office9th Sep, 2005
Retired On18th Jul, 2013
Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court March 2005
Permanent Judge of High Court of CalcuttaAugust 6th 1990
EnrollmentAugust 1st 1973
Justice Altamas Kabir was a judge in the Supreme Court of India for a period of eight years, of which he acted as its Chief Justice for ten months.
Born on 19 July 1948 in Calcutta, Justice Kabir completed his schooling from the Calcutta Boy’s School. He attended Presidency College, Calcutta and majored in history. Soon after he obtained bachelor and master degrees in law from the University of Calcutta. Post his legal education, he enrolled at the Bar on 1st August 1973. He began his legal practice in the district and the High Court of Calcutta.
After 17 years in the Bar, Justice Kabir was elected as a permanent judge of the High Court of Calcutta on 6th August 1990. Fifteen years later in March 2005, he was transferred to the Jharkhand High Court as its Chief Justice. In the same year, on 9 September 2005 Justice Kabir was elevated to the Supreme Court. On 29 September 2012, he was elevated as the 39th Chief Justice.
During his eight-year term at the Supreme Court, Justice Kabir authored a total of 362 judgements and was a part of 698 benches. He wrote the most judgments in 2010:
Justice Kabir predominantly worked on criminal matters. He was involved in landmark cases around domestic violence, contempt of court and bail procedure.
In Sandhya Manoj Wankhade v. Manoj Bhimrao Wankhade Justice Kabir expanded the scope of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 to include assault by female relatives: The Act did not explicitly recognise women as perpetrators of domestic violence.
In 2009 Prashant Bhushan, in an interview to Tehelka magazine, had alleged that at least sixteen Chief Justices of the Supreme Court were corrupt. Justice Kabir held that Bhushan’s statements prima facie constituted contempt of the Court and initiated proceedings against him. The case is still pending before the Supreme Court.
Justice Kabir was also involved in another high profile case involving the accused in the infamous Israeli bomb blast. The police had failed to file a charge sheet against the accused who was illegally detained. Justice Kabir granted statutory bail to the accused and reproached the lower court for the procedural lapses.
Four years after his retirement, Justice Kabir passed away on 17 February 2017 due to renal complications.