New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday administered the oath of office to Justice P Sathasivam as the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

Justice Sathasivam, 64, is the 40th CJI and the first from Tamil Nadu. He will remain in office till April 26, 2014. He succeeded CJI Altamas Kabir, whose last day in office was on Thursday.

The oath taking ceremony was attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, BJP leader LK Advani and other cabinet ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

Justice Sathasivam was elevated to the Supreme Court in August, 2007 and would demit office on April 26, 2014. Like his predecessor, Justice Sathasivam is opposed to scrapping of the present Collegium system for appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges.

But at the same time, he has admitted that there are drawbacks in the Collegium system and efforts can be made to overcome the shortcomings to ensure transparency. "There are drawbacks, I accept. But these drawbacks can be settled," he had said on Thursday.

Born on April 27, 1949, he enrolled as an advocate in July 1973 at Madras and was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Madras High Court in January, 1996.

Later, he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in April, 2007.

Elaborating on his plan during his less than 10 month long tenure as Chief Justice of India, Sathasivam had said on Thursday that "Delay in disposal of cases is a major issue."

"This difficulty can be overcome by enhancing judicial productivity both qualitatively and quantitatively," he said.     
Justice Sathasivam said he would work towards reducing the backlog of cases by "fixing time limit for arguments, submitting written notes," etc.

Some major judgements by Justice Sathasivam include the Mumbai blasts case and that of Pakistani scientist Mohammed Khalil Chisti. A bench of Justice Sathasivam and Justice B S Chauhan had upheld the conviction of actor Sanjay Dutt and several others in the Mumbai blasts case.

The bench had slammed Pakistan and its intelligence agency ISI for training the perpetrators of the 1993 blasts and failing to discharge its obligation under international law to prevent terrorist attacks emanating from its territory.

"It is devastating to state that Pakistan being a member of the United Nations, whose primary object is to maintain international peace and security, has infringed the recognized principles under international law which obligate all states to prevent terrorist attacks emanating from their territory and inflicting injuries to other states," it had said.

Another Bench headed by him that had set aside the conviction of Pakistani scientist Chisti. Justice Sathasivam had also delivered the verdict in the triple murder case of Australian missionary Graham Staines. He had upheld the conviction of Dara Singh in that case.

JPN/Agencies

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