On August 4, Chief Just of India NV Ramana named Justice Uday Umesh Lalit (Justice UU Lalit) as his successor for the top post at the Supreme Court of India. CJI Ramana will retire on August 26. Notably, Union Minister of Law Kiren Rijiju had written to CJI to recommend his successor.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana today recommends Justice UU Lalit’s name as his successor. Justice Lalit to become the 49th CJI. Chief Justice Ramana is retiring this month. pic.twitter.com/AfJJc8652V— ANI (@ANI) August 4, 2022
64-year-old Justice UU Lalit will be the second senior-most judge to become CJI if the recommendation is accepted by the government. However, as he is retiring in November this year, his tenure is going to be a brief one. Justice DY Chandrachud is set to become CJI after Justice UU Lalit.
It is noteworthy that Justice UU Lalit is the second judge directly elevated from the bar to be CJI. Justice SM Sikri was the first CJI who held the post from January 1971 to April 1973.
A brief intro to Justice UU Lalit
Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was born on November 9, 1957, in Maharashtra. His father, UU Lalit, had served as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court Nagpur bench. He also served as a senior counsel at the Supreme Court of India.
Justice Lalit started his law career in 1983 and practised as an advocate at the High Court of Bombay till 1985. In January 1986, he shifted his practice to Delhi. He continued to practice as an advocate in Delhi till 2004 and was designated as Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court in April 2004. During his tenure, he appeared as Amicus Curiae in several matters.
He also served as a member of the Supreme Court of India Legal Services Committee for two terms. In August 2014, he was appointed as a judge at the Supreme Court.
During his tenure as Senior Supreme Court advocate, he handled several high-profile cases. He represented Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case. He served as a special public prosecutor for the Central Bureau of Investigation during the trial in all 2G matters as ordered by the Supreme Court. He had also appeared for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in a case related to the demolition of a disputed structure at Ayodhya.
Recently, during a hearing, Justice UU Lalit stated that ideally, the Supreme Court should sit at 9 AM the morning. He had said, “I have always said that if our children can go to school at 7 in the morning, then why can’t we come at 9 AM.”
Justice Lalit was part of several Landmark judgments at the Supreme Court
During his tenure as Supreme Court Justice, he was part of many landmark hearings, including the Triple Talaq case. In 2017, he was part of the five-judge bench that declared the practice of Triple Talaq illegal and unconstitutional by a 3-2 majority.
In 2021, he led the bench that reversed the Bombay High Court’s controversial ruling in a POCSO case. In its ruling, the Bombay High Court said that “skin-to-skin contact” between an accused person and a child was required to make a case under POCSO Act. Justice Lalit-led bench said the High Court judgement would set a dangerous precedent and stayed it.
In July 2022, a bench comprising Justice UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice PS Narasimha sentenced fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to four months in prison in a contempt of court case. He was held guilty of disbursing $40 million to his family members despite court orders against it.
Justice UU Lalit was also part of the Ayodhya hearing, but he rescued himself from the bench after the counsel of Muslim petitioners mentioned that he had appeared for former CM Kalyan Singh in a case related to the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya.
Justice Lalit was also part of the three-member bench that cancelled the death sentence announced upon rape and murder convict Mohd. Firoz. The apex court challenged the legality of the judgement passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Jabalpur in 2014, stating that ‘every sinner has a future.’