Justice N V Ramana to be the 48th Chief Justice of India

Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana is a first lawyer and a judge from his area and will have a tenure of sixteen months as Chief Justice of India.

Supreme Court Judge Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, who has been part of numerous path breaking and progressive decisions in Supreme Court, will take over as the 48th Chief Justice of India on 24th April, 2021. His name was recommended by the present Chief Justice, Justice S.A. Bobde. Thereafter, the President of India on April 6, 2021, accepted and issued warrant of appointment in terms of the recommendation. As a Chief Justice of India he would have a tenure of sixteen months.

Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana is a first lawyer and a judge from his area. He had a humble beginning. His father and mother (Ganapthi Rao & Sarojni Devi) were agriculturists in the Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. A simple man at heart and a very gentle soul, Justice Ramana’s judgments are known for the clear dictum, simple to understand and a balanced approach. His love for mother literature is well-known among his peers.

According to his own recollection, he became lawyer out of coincidence and as a last option. From his early days he was known for his activist outlook and welfare concerns. At an early age he became a student leader involving himself in issues concerning farmer, industrial workers and other socially relevant issues. In a recent speech he recollected his days during emergency wherein he had to escape from police arrest.

It is also a matter of fact that he had worked as journalist for a leading Telugu newspaper for a brief time before becoming a full-fledged lawyer. As a lawyer he had served as an Additional Advocate General for the State of Andhra Pradesh. Even during his tenure as a lawyer, he was active in social work and welfare of the bar.

He was elevated as a judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the year 2001. Thereafter, he was transferred to New Delhi as its Chief Justice before he elevated to Supreme Court of India.

During his tenure as a High Court Judge as well as the Supreme Court Judge he was part of numerous path breaking and progressive decisions. His judgments are mainly in the field of constitution and commercial laws where he has tried to settle jurisprudence in the same. Few judgments which are relevant are Anuradha Bhasin vs. Union of India wherein his decision brought an end a year long internet ban in the Jammu and Kashmir. This judgment was hailed as a progressive judgment wherein freedom of internet was declared as a fundamental right.  In Supreme Court vs. Subhash Chand Aggrawala he breathed transparency into the office of the Chief Justice of India and brought it under the ambit of Right to Information Act. In Shiv Sena vs. State of Maharashtra his judgment to conduct a floor test paved way for reducing horse-trading and was hailed as a judgment reinvigorated constitution morality. Recently, he gave a bold decision in Ashwani Kumar Updahyay vs. Union of India wherein the pending corruption cases against politician were to be decided in a time bound manner. His decision was path breaking and due to the same he was subject matter of few disgruntled politicians.

On commercial side he has provided articulate judgments on arbitration, business laws etc. which have provided stability for the commercial world to carry on. Recently, in Vidya Drolia case, he settled a long pending issue of courts interference at the stage of appointment of arbitrator. Various legal scholars hailed the decision as having potential of reducing the back long of cases by providing primacy to arbitration. In Alcon vs. Salem his decision to allow execution of foreign decree is considered to ease the international trade in India.

He has provided a path for achieving goals in his tenure which includes increasing access to justice. While acting as an Executive Chairman of National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) he undertook various programmes to develop a strong legal aid culture in India. under his guidance NALSA performed even during the pandemic beyond his scope to provide meaningful access to justice. He is responsible for making India’s legal aid programme largest in the entire world wherein legal aid is not only provided on the basis of means test rather on basis of fixed categories. Out of 1.2 billion people in India, 70% of them are eligible for legal-aid. His other objective is to improve the judicial infrastructure in the entire country for such improvement he has proposed opening of a special purpose vehicle styled in the name of National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation which will be a model agency for construction of requirement infrastructure such as court building, residential complexes etc. Such agency would strengthen the cooperative federalism between State and the Centre.

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