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Former Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir Dies at the age of 68

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Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir passed away on February 19, 2017 in Kolkata at Apollo Hospital after suffering from kidney ailment. He was 68. He was the 39th Chief Justice of India who held office from September 29, 2012 to July 18, 2013.

About Altamas Kabir

Early Life and Education: Altamas Kabir was born in Calcutta on July 19, 1948 to a prominent Bengali Muslim family. He studied law at the University of Calcutta, Kolkata.


After completing his MA and LLB from the University of Calcutta, Justice Kabir was admitted to the bar in 1973 and practiced civil and criminal law in Kolkata at the district court and the Calcutta High Court, Kolkata.

  • On 6 August 1990, he was made a permanent judge of Calcutta High Court. Justice Kabir assumed the office of acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court on 11 January 2005
  • He was appointed as Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority on 14 January 2010.Altamas Kabir
  • He became the Acting Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court on 3 January 2005 and was made permanent on 1 March 2005.
  • On 9 September 2005, he was elevated to the Supreme Court of Indiaas Justice. On 29 September 2012 he became the 39th Chief Justice of India and retired on18 July 2013.
  • During his tenure as Chief Justice he was the Chancellor of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, the Chairman of the General Council of the Gujarat National Law University and the Visitor of the National Law School of India University.
  • During his tenure as a Supreme Court judge, Justice Kabir delivered several important judgments, particularly relating to human rights and election laws.
  • Kabir had also been part of the bench hearing the case of the two Italian Marines who allegedly shot dead two Kerala fishermen, taking them to be pirates.
  • He had also decided the important issue of whether an MP suspended from a political party can continue as MP.
  • He was accused of favouring the Sahara Group in its case against the Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) on refunding Rs 24,000 crore to investors.

About Chief Justice of India

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India. The CJI also heads their administrative functions.

  • As head of the Supreme Court, the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law.
  • In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the Chief Justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.
  • On the administrative side, the Chief Justice carries out the functions like maintenance of the roster, appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.
  • H. J. Kania was the first Chief Justice of India who served from January 26, 1950 to November 6, 1951
  • The present and 44th CJI is Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar. He succeeded Justice T.S. Thakur on 4 January 2017 and will remain in office till 28 August 2017, the day he completes 65 years of age.