CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde is the 47th Chief Justice of India. After studying law at Nagpur University, Justice Bobde began his law practice before the Bombay High Court. In March 2000, after around two decades of practising, he was appointed as an additional judge at the Bombay High Court. He was subsequently promoted until he was the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, from where he was elevated to the Supreme Court in April 2013. By the convention of seniority, he was appointed Chief Justice in November 2019.

As he is due to retire this Friday on 23 April 2021, we look at his term as a judge through numbers.

CJI Bobde had a long tenure of 8 years, higher than the average of 5.5 years for currently sitting judges. It is also the third-longest tenure of all currently sitting judges. Judges who have been appointed more recently have mostly had shorter tenures: like Justices Krishna Murari and Ramasubramaniam for little less than 4 years. Of the 10 most senior judges, 9 have tenures above the average. Four, including CJI Bobde, have a tenure of 8 years. And four have a tenure of 6 years. Of the other 19 judges, only 5 have above-average tenures. Nine have a tenure of 4 years.

CJI Bobde has written 68 judgments in his eight-year term, as opposed to the average of 105 by the current sitting judges. Fourteen judges have written less than him, and all of them are in the junior half of the Court.


CJI Bobde’s rate of judgments per year is 8.5, compared to the sitting judges’ average of 25.7. This makes his rate of judgments the third lowest after Justices Krishna Murari and Vineet Saran. However, these judgment numbers do not account for orders and does not indicate the rate of cases disposed.

 

While CJI Bobde has authored 68 judgments, he has sat on the bench for 547 cases in which judgments were pronounced. This means he has authored 12.43% of judgments he was on the bench for. 2014 and 2017 were particularly busy years in terms of volume for CJI Bobde. In 2020, he wrote only 6% of the judgments he was on the bench for (4 out of 68). He occupied the office of Chief Justice throughout that year.

Almost a majority of his judgments (43%) dealt with Criminal Law, with 29 authored judgments. This was followed by 6 judgments each on arbitration and civil law.

 
In our next post, we look at some of his most notable judgments. We will also discuss his term as Chief Justice and its impact on the institution of the Chief Justice and the Court.

 

(This post is based on data as reflected on 19 April 2021. We rely on Manupatra’s Advance Judge Analytics to source the data.)