Vishweshwar Nath Khare
Justice V.N. Khare.jpg
33rd Chief Justice of India
In office
19 Dec 2002 – 2 May 2004
Appointed byA. P. J. Kalam
Preceded byGopal Ballav Pattanaik
Succeeded byS. Rajendra Babu
Judge of Supreme Court of India
In office
21 March 1997 – 01 May 2004
Appointed byShankar Dayal Sharma
Personal details
Born (1939-05-02) 2 May 1939 (age 83)
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Alma materAllahabad University

Vishweshwar Nath Khare was the 33rd Chief Justice of India, serving from 19 December 2002 to 2 May 2004. He was a judge of the Supreme Court of India from 21 March 1997 before he was elevated to the post of Chief Justice.

Early life

Khare was born in Allahabad on 2 May 1939.[citation needed] He lived in Allahabad for much of his life and attended St. Joseph's College, Allahabad.[citation needed] He further attended the Allahabad University. Khare was a First Class cricket player, playing for the state of Uttar Pradesh in Ranji Trophy matches in 1958.[citation needed]

Legal career

Khare started his career as an Advocate in the Allahabad High Court in 1961, where he practised on Civil, Writ and Revenue petitions.[citation needed] He was appointed Chief Standing Counsel for the Government of Uttar Pradesh. On 25 June 1983, he was appointed a Judge of the Allahabad High Court. In early 1996, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, from where he was elevated to the Supreme Court of India a year later.[citation needed]


Main article: The Emergency (India)

See also: State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain

As an Advocate in 1975, Khare and his uncle, S. C. Khare, represented Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, in her famous case against Raj Narain, alleging electoral malpractices. He was responsible for advocating the case that got the order of the High Court stayed until an appeal could be filed in the Supreme Court.[1] The decision of the Supreme Court led to the imposition of Emergency in India for a period of 19 months, the only suspension of democracy the country has seen since Independence in 1947.[citation needed]

Gujarat violence

See also: 2002 Gujarat violence

During his tenure as the Chief Justice of India, Khare was confronted with the failure of the justice system in the aftermath of the Gujarat violence following the Godhra train burning. His decision to reopen the Best Bakery Case provided some recourse for victims of the violence. Speaking to The Hindu newspaper when he retired[2] he said, "I found there was complete collusion between the accused and the prosecution in Gujarat, throwing rule of law to the winds. The Supreme Court had to step in to break the collusion to ensure protection to the victims and the witnesses. I was anguished and pained by the turn of events during the trial of the riot cases but was determined to salvage the criminal justice delivery system."

In interviews to the media in 2004, Khare explained why he decided to transfer the Best Bakery case to Maharashtra for a retrial.[3][4] In a 2012 interview, Khare gave details about the Best Bakery case and the Gulbarg Society massacre in explaining why he believed the 2002 Gujarat Violence was an instance of a "state sponsored genocide".[5]

Post retirement

Since retiring as Chief Justice of India, Khare comments occasionally on national television and press on issues of jurisprudence.[6] His comments on the Jessica Lal murder case echoed the sentiments expressed during the Gujarat riots. He is also appointed the Chancellor of Central University of Jharkhand.[7]


Khare's comments on there being an appearance of complicity between the state government and the rioters during the 2002 Gujarat violence have been criticized by Narendra Modi (The former Chief Minister of Gujarat and member of the Hindutva R.S.S. aligned BJP.) .[8][9] According to Modi:

Judges should keep away from politics. Khare should know the difference between khare and khote (right and wrong). The state government was never a party to riots, nor was it a silent spectator. No commission of inquiry has indicted me. I am a victim of false propaganda by a section of the media. The million dollar question is why did Khare make the remark only after retiring from office? Regarding my role in the riots the people of Gujarat are the best judge and they have replied in a befitting manner.[8]

Awards and honors

Khare was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour in 2006.[10]


  1. ^ Kuldip Nayar 1977. The judgment: Inside story of the emergency in India. Vikas Publishing House.
  2. ^ "National : I raised the image of judiciary: V.N. Khare". The Hindu. 2 May 2004. Archived from the original on 24 June 2004. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Khare vote for truth". The Telegraph. 3 May 2004. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  4. ^ "As a judge, my job is to wipe tears". Rediff. 19 May 2004. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  5. ^ "I would have lodged an FIR against Narendra Modi on charges of genocide and manslaughter". HardNews. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Justice after Jessica Lall". The Indian Express. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Justice V.N.Khare". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Modi on retired CJI Khare's comments". Sify. 5 May 2004. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Justice Khare's remarks irk Gujarat CM". The Times of India. 3 May 2004. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  10. ^ "V. N. Khare". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
Legal offices Preceded byGopal Ballav Pattanaik Chief Justice of India 19 December 2002– 2 May 2004 Succeeded byS. Rajendra Babu