New Delhi, July 19: Justice P. Sathasivam, seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, was sworn in as the 40th Chief Justice of India on Friday. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office to him at a brief ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Justice Sathasivam, 64, who succeeds Justice Altamas Kabir, will have a brief tenure till April 26, 2014.
Talking to The Hindu soon after the swearing-in, he said his immediate priorities were filling up the large number of vacancies in subordinate courts and High Courts, and speedy disposal of cases.
A disciplinarian and stickler for punctuality, Justice Sathasivam is known for his simplicity and humility. Hailing from Kadappanallur in Erode district of Tamil Nadu, he was the first graduate in his agricultural family and first law graduate in his village.
Justice Sathasivam was appointed permanent Judge of the Madras High Court on January 8, 1996. He never served as Chief Justice of a High Court as he was elevated directly to the Supreme Court on August 21, 2007, when he was serving as judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Among those who attended the ceremony were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, the outgoing and former CJIs, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley, Union Ministers A.K. Antony, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid, Minister of State in the PMO V. Narayanasamy and other Ministers and MPs.
Supreme Court Bar Association president M.N. Krishnamani, International Council of Jurists Chairman Adish C. Aggarwala, Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati, Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran, Additional Solicitor-General from Chennai P. Wilson; Tamil Nadu Advocate-General A.L. Somayaji, the former Attorney-Generals K. Parasaran and Soli Sorabjee, Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Misra, BCI member S. Prabhakaran, over 200 lawyers from Chennai and Madurai including senior advocates K. Doraiswami under whom Justice Sathasivam had served as junior, senior advocate R. Gandhi, and family members of Justice Sathasivam were present.