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Dipak Misra
The Chief Justice of India, Justice Shri Dipak Misra during the 24th Foundation Day Function of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in New Delhi on October 12, 2017 (cropped).jpg
Misra in 2017
45th [[Chief Justice of India]]
In office
28 August 2017 – 2 October 2018
Appointed by Ram Nath Kovind
Preceded by Jagdish Singh Khehar
Succeeded by Ranjan Gogoi
Judge of the Supreme Court of India
In office
10 October 2011 – 28 August 2017
Appointed by Pratibha Patil
Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court
In office
24 May 2010 – 10 October 2014
Appointed by Shankar Dayal Sharma
Preceded by Ajit Prakash Shah
Succeeded by D. Murugesan
Chief Justice of the Patna High Court
In office
1 December 2009 – 23 May 2010
Appointed by Pratibha Patil
Preceded by Prafulla Kumar Mishra
Succeeded by Rekha Manharlal Doshit
Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court
In office
3 March 1997 – 30 November 2009
Appointed by Shankar Dayal Sharma
Judge of the Orissa High Court
In office
17 January 1996 – 2 March 1997
Appointed by Shankar Dayal Sharma
Personal details
Born (1953-10-03) 3 October 1953 (age 70)
Relatives Ranganath Misra (uncle)
Alma mater Madhusudan Law College, Cuttack

Dipak Misra (born 3 October 1953) is an Indian jurist who served as the 45th Chief Justice of India from 28 August 2017 till 2 October 2018. He is also former Chief Justice of the Patna High Court and Delhi High Court. He is the nephew of Justice Ranganath Misra, who was the 21st Chief Justice from 1990 to 1991.


Misra enrolled at the Bar on 14 February 1977 and practised at the Orissa High Court and the Service Tribunal. He was first appointed an Additional Judge of the Orissa High Court in 1996. The following year, he was transferred to the Madhya Pradesh High Court, where he was made a Permanent Judge on 19 December 1997. In December 2009, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, serving until May 2010, when he was appointed Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. He was elevated to the Supreme Court on 10 October 2011.

Misra had a tenure of thirteen months as chief justice at the Supreme Court after being appointed the 45th Chief Justice of India on 28 August 2017 until mandatory retirement at 65 years of age, on 2 October 2018 and was succeeded by Ranjan Gogoi.

Notable judgments

First Information Report

Misra's judgment in the Own Motion vs State case, requiring Delhi Police to upload First Information Reports (FIR) on their website within 24 hours of the FIRs being lodged. This enables the accused to file appropriate applications before the court for redressal of their grievances.

Reservation in promotion

In a case on Reservation in promotion, Justice Misra and Justice Dalveer Bhandari upheld the Allahabad High Court judgement that reservation in promotions can be provided only if there is sufficient data and evidence to justify the need. The bench rejected the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to provide reservation in promotion on the ground that it failed to furnish sufficient valid data.

Yakub Memon's appeal

In an unprecedented overnight hearing at 3:20 am IST on 30 July 2015, a 3 judge bench comprising Dipak Misra, Prafulla Chandra Pant and Amitava Roy rejected 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon's appeal to stop his execution which resulted in his hanging at the Nagpur Central Jail a few hours later.

Memon's lawyers made a last-minute effort to save him from the noose by rushing to the residence of Chief Justice H. L. Dattu to petition for an urgent hearing, after Memon's mercy pleas were rejected by Governor of Maharashtra C. Vidyasagar Rao and then by President Pranab Mukherjee. However, the Supreme Court dismissed the case and the three-judge bench refused to stay the execution, stating that Memon had been provided with sufficient opportunities before the court and the executive. The bench further stated, "if we have to stay the death warrant it would be a travesty of justice", adding that "we do not find any merit in the writ petition".

Cauvery river

It was a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Misra that settled the 120 year old dispute over the Cauvery river, also called the Ganga of the South and considered to be the lifeline for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The judgment laid down important principles to the effect that rivers are a national resource and not the property of any State and the sharing of waters must be on equitable basis and further placed the requirement of drinking water at the highest pedestal.

Progress in Ayodhya case

The first progress in the Ayodhya dispute occurred during Justice Misra’s tenure when the Bench led by him restricted the dispute only to the title suit and rejected third party interventions. The Bench led by him rejected the plea to refer the ''Ismail Faruqui'' judgment to a Constitution Bench thereby upholding that a mosque was not integral to the Muslim way of worship, which has an important bearing on the dispute.

Section 377 IPC

In a historic unanimous ruling on Section 377 IPC, while presiding over a Constitution Bench, Chief Justice Misra partially struck down Section 377 of IPC citing it to be irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary. Justice Misra observed quoting Goethe : “I am what I am, so take me as I am” and emphasised on the universal concepts of individuality, liberty and dignity of the individual, right to privacy, equality of rights and freedom of expression, and highlighted the constitutional principles of transformative constitutionalism and constitutional morality and the doctrines of progressive realisation and non-retrogression of rights.

Freedom of speech and expression

In Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India, a two judge bench of the Supreme Court of India, which included Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant, has upheld that defamation is a criminal offence. Many have seen the verdict as a blow to freedom of speech and expression in India. Herein, the bench concluded that the Right to Reputation is included under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The court also referred to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's speech to highlight the intention of the drafters to include reasonable restrictions on free speech and expression under Article 19(2), without defining words such as "defamation" and clearly left it for the wisdom of the courts to interpret and apply their meaning.

To determine the constitutionality of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and its exceptions, the bench examined each provision in detail and concluded that the section is not vague. The bench rejected the petitioner's argument about "public good", stating that such interpretation must be made on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, the court found Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 199 of the CrPC constitutional, asserting that the judiciary is independent of political influence and responsible for preventing the misuse of the judicial process.

Right to marry by one's choice

While upholding the marriage of Kerala Muslim convert girl Hadiya with Shafin Jahan in the Hadiya court case, he observed that the right to marry a person of one's choice is integral to right to life and liberty and further, choosing a faith is the substratum of individuality and sans it, the right of choice becomes a shadow.

Honour killing

In Shakti Vahini v. Union of India, deprecating honour killing and honour crimes, Justice Misra wrote that honour killing guillotines individual liberty and freedom of choice and that assertion of choice is an insegregable facet of liberty and dignity. He further wrote : “any kind of torture or torment or ill-treatment in the name of honour that tantamount to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage by an assembly, whatsoever nomenclature it assumes, is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence”. He also observed, “class honour, howsoever perceived, cannot smother the choice of an individual which he or she is entitled to enjoy under our compassionate Constitution.”

Mob vigilantism and lynching

Justice Misra, in his judgment on mob vigilantism and lynching, condemned the horrendous acts of mobocracy and observed that it cannot be allowed to become the “new normal”. He stated that it has to be curbed with an iron hand and that no citizen can be allowed to take the law into his own hands or become law unto himself and further issued a slew of directions, including preventive, punitive and remedial measures, to deal with the crime.

Defamation and free speech

He had upheld the constitutionality of the criminal defamation as a reasonable restriction on free speech under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution stating that reputation cannot be allowed to be sullied on the anvil of free speech which is not absolute.

Conviction of High Court Judge

He was also part of the Bench of the Supreme Court's seven senior-most judges who convicted then Calcutta High Court judge C. S. Karnan of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months' imprisonment.

National Anthem at cinema halls

He was part of the bench that ordered playing of the National Anthem in the beginning of a film in theatres as mandatory, which requires the audience to stand up when it is played. Later, he modified the order to clarify with regard to differently abled people and further relaxed it while stating that if a cinema chose to play the National Anthem, people would have to stand up as a mark of honour and respect.

Gender equality

He is hailed as a 'warrior of gender equality' as he led various constitutional benches which passed historic judgements that upheld equal rights for women and the LGBT community, like the scrapping of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, legalising homosexuality by partially striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and allowing entry for women into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.


On 12 January 2018, four senior judges of the Supreme Court; Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph addressed a press conference criticising Misra's style of administration and allocation of cases. However, people close to Misra refuted these allegations. Legal experts like Soli Sorabjee and Ujjwal Nikam said that this rebellion of the four judges against the Chief Justice of India is going to hurt the judiciary by eroding public faith in it.

On 20 April 2018, seven opposition parties submitted a petition seeking impeachment of Misra to the Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, with signatures from seventy-one parliamentarians. On 23 April 2018, the petition was rejected by Venkaiah Naidu, primarily on the basis that the complaints were about the internal administration and not misbehaviour, and that impeachment would seriously interfere with the constitutionally protected independence of the judiciary.

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