Tirath Singh Thakur
Tirath Singh Thakur
Former Chief Justice of India
Assumed Office17th Nov, 2019
Retired On4th Jan, 2017
Additional Judge of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir February 1994-
Permanent Judge of the High Court of Karnataka September 1995-
Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court April 2008-
Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana August 2008-
Judge of the Supreme Court November 2009- 2015
Justice Tirath Singh Thakur spent seven years at the Supreme Court including a year as the Chief Justice.
Born on 4 January 1952 at Ramban, Jammu and Kashmir, J. Thakur studied law from Jammu University. His legal practice began at his father, Mr. Devi Das Thakur’s chamber. J. Thakur litigated on various civil, criminal, constitutional, taxation and service matters in the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir. He was subsequently appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir in February 1994.
In March 1994, he was transferred to the High Court of Karnataka and was appointed as a permanent Judge in September 1995. Nine years later, in 2004 he was transferred to the High Court of Delhi. Justice Thakur was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in April 2008. He took over as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in August 2008.
Justice Thakur was elevated to the Supreme Court on 17 November 2009. After six years as a judge at the Supreme Court, he succeeded former Chief Justice H. L. Dattu. He was appointed as the 43rd Chief Justice of India on 3 December 2015.
During his tenure as the Chief Justice of India, he appealed to the Union Government to decrease the burden of the judiciary in disposing cases. And appoint more judges and improve the infrastructure of courts. He attributed the delay in disposing cases to the lack of adequate resources and infrastructure.
Justice Thakur authored a total of 246 judgements during his seven-year tenure at the Supreme Court. He was most active in 2014 when he delivered 46 judgements and was a part of 148 benches.
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J. Thakur predominantly heard criminal matters along with civil matters, service-related cases and constitutional issues. In 2013, a Ponzi scheme (Saradha chit fund) collapsed and gained national traction. This triggered a bench headed by Justice Thakur to order the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate into Ponzi schemes in Odisha.
In 2014, J. Thukar’s judgement in BCCI v. Cricket Board of Bihar made the world’s largest cricket body, the BCCI, accountable and transparent. BCCI played a public function and no office bearers of the BCCI must have any commercial interest in cricket, the judgment held. He ordered the constitution of the RM Lodha Committee for the restructuring of the BCCI. Two days before his retirement (January 2017) a bench headed by Justice Thakur ordered the removal of the then BCCI president for failing to implement the reforms drafted by the RM Lodha Committee.
Justice Thakur headed a three-judge bench along with Justice Sikri and Justice Banumathi to deliver a judgement on the issue of diesel emission in Delhi-NCR. In MC Mehta v Union of India (2015) the bench levied an environmental compensation charge for commercial diesel operating vehicles. In 2016, the bench banned diesel operating luxury vehicles and cabs by restricting the registration of new vehicles to petrol and CNG medium. In August 2016, it allowed the registration of luxury diesel-operating vehicles after payment of 1% levy on the ex-showroom price.
In November 2016, Justice Thakur headed a nine-judge bench to adjudicate the constitutionality of tax imposed by States on the movement of goods from other states. The bench held that entry taxes do not violate the freedom of trade and commerce if they do not discriminate. The Supreme Court laid down guidelines for imposition of such taxes. During the hearings, Justice Thakur observed that taxes are not inherently a barrier to free trade and commerce, however, it cannot be levied to function as a “barrier and obstruction to free movement of goods.”
After retiring on 4th January 2017 J. Thakur continued to comment on legal and court affairs. He criticized the press conference held by four senior judges of the Supreme Court against the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Institutional conflicts could be resolved internally, he believed.
Most recently, in August 2019 he was appointed by CG Power and Industrial Solution Pvt. Ltd. to monitor the forensic investigation of the company.