What made this news to the top of the headlines is that he is a dalit and that's where it saddens me. We have had a dalit president, we have a minority prime minister and president, a foreign born leader of ruling alliance and still we want to make it a point to stress the caste and religion of these appointments.
Remember that these appointments came because of the merits of these people (esp. in the case of KG Balakrishnan) in their chosen profession. I am sure that respected Balakrishnan is well regarded in the legal circles and hence there is no need to stress his caste and religious credentials. Also, the country is not making an exception by making a 'dalit' the CJI - he earned his rights to become one. I, for one, believe that we should avoid taking up the caste and religion identity of these appointments and that would be the first step in ensuring that people don't attribute a lot of weightage to these factors.
I would like to see a day India is 'cool' about any of its top public servant, the same way American Football fans are used to seeing black coaches and quarterbacks.