From Student Activist to 48th Chief Justice of India: Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana

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From Student Activist to 48th Chief Justice of India: Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana

By Ritika Singh

INTRODUCTION

On 23 April 2021, the Chief Justice of India Hon’ble Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde had retired, His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind, the Hon’ble President of India has appointed Hon’ble Justice NUTHALAPATI VENKATA RAMANA as the next Chief Justice of India by accepting the recommendation made by his predecessor Hon’ble SA Bobde.

 He will serve as the 48th Chief Justice of India for 16 months from 24 April 2021 to 26 August 2022. It will be the longest tenure for a CJI in nearly a decade and he will complete 8 years and 6 months at the time of his superannuation in the Supreme Court.

 He has been a part of 403 Judgments to date and has already authored 157 Judgments with more than 110 citations. He will be the second person from the State of Andhra Pradesh to be the CJI and will be the first Judge from the Andhra Pradesh High Court (as a parent High Court) to serve as the CJI.

BACKGROUND

He took birth in a farmer’s family on August 27, 1957, in Ponnavaram Village, Krishna District of undivided Andhra Pradesh.  

 In 1975, he was asked by his father to move away from home and stay with his maternal aunt as the then Government was planning to proclaim National Emergency in the country and he was a student leader during that time and his father was convinced that he will be arrested. He lost an academic year during his days as a student activist. 

He worked as a journalist for a regional newspaper for two years before enrolling as an advocate on 10 February 1983. He practiced in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunals and the Supreme Court of India and has served as Additional Standing Counsel for Central Government, Standing Counsel for Railways in the Central Administrative Tribunal at Hyderabad, and Additional Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh.

APPOINTMENTS/ ROLES

He was appointed as permanent Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27,  2000, and also functioned as Acting Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh  High Court w.e.f. March 10, 2013, to May 20, 2013.

He was appointed as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on September 02, 2013, and then, he was promoted to be a Judge of the Supreme Court within a year on 17 February 2014.

He was appointed as the Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee from March 7, 2019, to November 26, 2019, followed by, President of Andhra Pradesh Judicial Academy.

He is the Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) since November 27, 2019, a Member of the General Council of the National Law School of Indian University, Bangalore, and Chairman of the Library Committee in Indian Law Institute, Delhi.

The E-Lok Adalat of Rajasthan State Legal Service Authority (RSLSA) was set up under the guidance of the NALSA during the Chairmanship of Justice Ramana and the same has taken up more than 45,000 cases out of which about 33,476 were settled.

SOME OF THE LANDMARK JUDGMENTS

-Constitutionality of Part XIV of the Finance Act, 2017:-

In the case of Roger Mathew v. South India Bank Ltd., 2019, it was held that Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 does not suffer from an excessive delegation of legislative functions as there are adequate principles to guide the framing of delegated legislation, which would include the binding dictums of this Court.

-Defence of Mental Unsoundness post-conviction:-

In the case of Md. Anwar v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2020, a 3-judge bench held that in order to successfully claim defense of mental unsoundness under Section 84 of IPC, the accused must show by a preponderance of probabilities that he/she suffered from a serious-enough mental disease or infirmity which would affect the individual’s ability to distinguish right from wrong. “Mere production of photocopy of an OPD card and statement of mother on affidavit have little, if any, evidentiary value.”

-Curative petition of Nirbhaya case convicts:-

In Pawan Kumar Gupta vs State of NCT Delhi, a 6-judge bench hearing case had dismissed the curative petition and stay on the execution of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape convict. The Court dismissed the final plea against the rejection of mercy petition of the convicts by the President of India.

-MLA Bribery case:-

Justice NV Ramana-led bench had released an order stating that Chief Justices of all High Courts need to list all pending criminal cases filed against MPs and MLAs. Instructions were also given to list all such cases which have not advanced further due to higher court orders.

-Home-maker is no less than working husband:-

In the case of Kirti vs. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd, Justice NV Ramana who had emphasized the idea which was initiated by the top court in the 2001 Lata Wadhwa case, said that housewives need to be paid on the basis of services rendered by them in the house.

-Grant of bail in a stringent law like The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967:-

In Union of India v KA Najeeb, 2021, a bench led by Justice Ramana held that Section 43­D (5) of UAPA per­-se  does not ought to the ability of Constitutional Courts to grant bail on the ground of violation of Fundamental Right to Speedy Trial.

-Restrictions imposed in J & K when Article 370 of the Constitution was repealed:

In Foundation for Media Professionals v. State (UT of J&K), 2020, a bench led by Justice Ramana held that fundamental rights have to be balanced with the concerns of the State security and appointed a Special Committee to ensure those restrictions if required, are narrowly tailored and not permanent must publicize the internet suspension orders with reasons.

-Bringing the Chief Justice of India’s office within the bounds of the Right to Information (RTI) in case of Central Public Information Officer v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, 2019.

-Arunachal Pradesh Assembly Case:-

In Nabam Rebia, and Bamang Felix v. Deputy Speaker, (2016), a 5-judge bench quashed an order from the Governor, on account of being violative of Article 163 read with Article 174 of the Constitution of India,  preponing the 6th session of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly by a month without consulting the Chief Minister, Council of Ministers, or the Speaker,

-Permanent commission to women in forces:-

In Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya, 2020, the court had then ruled that the claim of women engaged on Short Service Commissions in the Army for seeking permanent commission was evaluated and held to be justified.

Author is a 6th Semester Law Student pursuing B.A. LL.B. from Indore Institute of Law, with keen interests in the field of Intellectual Property Rights, Cyber Awareness and Data Privacy.

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