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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Justice N V Ramana to be sworn in as new Chief Justice of India on April 24

As the 48th Chief Justice of India, Justice Ramana will have a tenure of over sixteen months — until August 26, 2022.

Written by Apurva Vishwanath | New Delhi |
Updated: April 7, 2021 3:57:38 am
Justice NV Ramana

Justice N V Ramana, the most senior judge of the Supreme Court after Chief Justice S A Bobde, was appointed as the next Chief Justice of India with effect from April 24.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from April 24, 2021,” said a Ministry of Law and Justice notification.

As the 48th Chief Justice of India, Justice Ramana will have a tenure of over sixteen months — until August 26, 2022.

Justice Ramana takes over at a time when the judiciary is adjusting to function in the virtual mode while ensuring un-interrupted access to justice to citizens. As Chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority, Justice Ramana led efforts to ensure training to lawyers and litigants to adapt to e-courts during the pandemic.

Born on August 27, 1957, in Ponnavaram of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, Justice Ramana is the youngest of this three siblings. His parents Nuthalapati Ganapathi Rao and Sarojini were humble agriculturists. Although he briefly worked as a journalist for Telugu newspaper Eenadu, as a first generation lawyer, he enrolled as an advocate and set up practice in Vijayawada in 1983.

He subsequently moved to Hyderabad and later served as Additional Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh. In June 2000, he was appointed a permanent judge of the AP High Court and in 2014 was elevated to the Supreme Court.

During his tenure in the Supreme Court, Justice Ramana has advocated the need to implement regional languages as the language of the court to increase participation of rural litigants in the trial process.

He is one of the few judges who displays his nameplate outside his official residence in Telugu, his mother tongue. Incidentally, Justice Ramana will be only the second CJI from Andhra Pradesh after Justice K Subba Rao who was CJI between 1966-67.

As a judge of the SC, Justice Ramana has walked the tightrope between upholding personal liberty and democratic values of the Constitution and giving weight to practical imperatives.

In the case challenging the suspension of Internet in Jammu and Kashmir, following the abrogation of Article 370, a bench led by Justice Ramana upheld the right to disseminate and access information through Internet as a fundamental right and mandated greater transparency and accountability from the government in issuing curbs.

In the case challenging the disqualification of 17 Karnataka legislators in September 2019, a bench led by him upheld the disqualification of 17 Karnataka legislators by the Speaker but permitted them to contest the bypolls to avoid “a chilling effect on legitimate dissent.”

Justice Ramana has dealt with several politically sensitive cases: setting up of special courts for fast-tracking criminal cases against MPs and MLAs; bringing the CJI’s office under the purview of the RTI Act; and the curative petitions filed by convicts in the December 2012 gangrape and murder case which led to their execution.

On March 24, an SC in-house panel dismissed allegations by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy against Justice Ramana, after which his name was recommended for appointment as the next Chief Justice of India.

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