Justice Konakuppakatil Gopinathan Balakrishnan was on Sunday sworn in as the Chief Justice of India -- the first Dalit to occupy the high office.
President A P J Abdul Kalam administered the oath of office and secrecy to Chief Justice Balakrishnan, 61, at a ceremony in the Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Justice Balakrishnan will serve for three years and four months. Due to retire on May 12, 2010, his term will be longer than that of many of his predecessors. Before being elevated to the apex court on June 8, 2000, he served successive stints as chief justice of the Gujarat and Madras high courts.
Born on May 12, 1945, Balakrishnan graduated in law from the Maharaja Law College in Ernakulam and was enrolled as an advocate on March 16, 1968 in the Kerala Bar Council.
Vipin Vijayan met his family and colleagues in Ernakulam and Kottayam to garner insights into the life and times of the 37th Chief Justice of India.
Image: President A P J Abdul Kalam greets Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan after administering him the oath of office at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Photograph: Sondeep Shankar/Saab Pictures