Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was sworn in as the 49th Chief Justice of India on Saturday, one day after Justice NV Ramana announced his retirement. Justice Lalit was sworn in as Chief Justice of India by President Droupadi Murmu in the early hours of the day at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Justice NV Ramana, who retired on August 26, is succeeded by him.
As per tradition and seniority rules, Justice Ramana had recommended Justice Lalit as his replacement. Justice Lalit’s appointment as the next CJI was subsequently confirmed by the President.
As the head of India’s judiciary, Justice Lalit will hold office for just 74 days, leaving on November 8. At Justice Ramana’s farewell celebration yesterday, Justice Lalit stated that during his roughly three-month term, he will concentrate on three main areas, with the making of listing of cases simple, clear and as transparent as possible being one of his top priorities.
In addition, Justice Lalit has vowed to uphold a transparent structure that allows any urgent issues to be raised openly before the appropriate benches of the top court.
He pledged that the Supreme Court would have at least one Constitution Bench operating throughout the year.
Justice Lalit said, “I have always believed that the role of the Supreme Court is to lay down law with clarity, consistency, and the best possible way to do it is to have larger benches as early as possible, wherever the matters are referred to such benches so that the issues get clarified immediately, the matter has consistency and the people are well aware of what exactly are the contours of the peculiar positions in law.”
On his last day of work, outgoing CJI Ramana apologised for not being able to name every case that was still pending and stated that the court had been dealing with a backlog of cases that had significantly risen during the months prior.
Justice Lalit was a well-known senior advocate before being chosen to serve as a Supreme Court justice. He was selected to serve as a Supreme Court justice on August 13, 2014.
Justice Lalit will be the second Chief Justice of India to be elevated from the Supreme Court bench straight from the bar. Justice SM Sikri, who became the 13th Chief Justice of India in January 1971, was the first lawyer to be promoted directly to the top court bench.
On November 9, 1957, in Solapur, Maharashtra, Justice Lalit was born. His father, UR Lalit, served as a prominent Supreme Court advocate as well as an additional judge at the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench. In June 1983, Justice Lalit applied to become an advocate. From 1983 to 1985, he worked as a criminal law specialist in the Bombay High Court.
In January 1986, he shifted his practise to Delhi, and the Supreme Court designated him a senior advocate in April 2004.
Later, he was chosen by the CBI to serve as a special public prosecutor for the case involving the allotment of 2G spectrum.
On November 8, Justice Lalit will retire, and it is anticipated that Justice DY Chandrachud will be named the 50th Chief Justice of India.