L Nageswara Rao, who has been recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as an apex court judge, had recently scripted the return of J Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu CM after she was acquitted by Karnataka High Court in a corruption case. Rao argued for the AIADMK chief in the High Court and now leads the argument for her at the Supreme Court in Karnataka government’s appeal against her exoneration.
Reserved and soft-spoken, Rao has served three terms as an Additional Solicitor General and he resigned from his last stint in December 2014. After coming to power, the NDA government had a new team of law officers, but Rao was retained from the old team of the previous government. He later resigned, citing “personal reasons”, and stated that he shared a cordial relationship with other law officers and bureaucrats.
Rao’s recommendation by the Chief Justice T S Thakur-led Collegium came as a surprise for many of his colleagues, for the senior lawyer has already refused the position once.
In 2014, then Chief Justice R M Lodha had offered Rao the judgeship at the apex court but he had turned it down, citing various personal and professional reasons. Rao was 57 then.
If Rao’s name is cleared by the government, he would have six years’ tenure as a judge of the Supreme Court.
Hailing from Guntur, Rao was designated Senior Advocate in 2000. He served as ASG from 2003 to 2004 and subsequently from August 2013 to May 2014. After the change in government at the Centre in 2014, he had resigned but was appointed again by the NDA government.
Rao was a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, which had probed the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal. He had appeared for the National Legal Services Authority in a PIL relating to transgender rights.