Justice Uday Umesh Lalit Will Become the 49th CJI on 27th August

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Justice Uday Umesh Lalit Will Become the 49th CJI on 27th August

| Updated: August 11, 2022 11:38

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, President Droupadi Murmu appointed Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as the 49th Chief Justice of India as Justice NV Ramana is set to leave office on August 26.

Justice Lalit will take charge on August 27 and will have quite a short tenure of over three months. He is due to retire on November 8. The retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court is 65.

Enrolled as an advocate in June 1983, Justice Lalit had worked in the chambers of former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee also. He is only the second CJI after Justice SM Sikri (January 1971 to April 1973) to have been appointed without serving as a judge of a high court. He is directly appointed from the Bar.

One of the country’s top criminal lawyers, Justice Lalit enrolled as an advocate in June 1983 and worked in the chambers of former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee. He practised in the Bombay High Court till December 1985. Before being appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in August 2014, Justice Lalit shifted his practice to Delhi in January 1986, and in April 2004, was designated as a senior advocate by the Supreme Court.

Justice Lalit was part of the five-judge Constitution bench which in August 2017 ruled by a 3:2 majority, that the practice of divorce through instant ‘triple talaq’ Is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

Out of many remarkable judgements, a bench headed by Justice Lalit quashed the controversial ‘skin-to-skin’ judgements of the Bombay High Court in two cases under the POCSO Act, the bench had said the high court erred in holding that there was no offence since there was no direct ‘skin-to-skin’ contact with sexual intent.

It had ruled that touching sexual parts of a child’s body or any act involving physical contact with ‘sexual intent’ amounts to ‘sexual assault’ under section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as the most important ingredient is sexual intent and not skin-to-skin contact.

In another judgement, a bench headed by Justice Lalit ruled that the erstwhile royal family of Travancore has the management right over one of the richest temples in the world, the historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala.

Justice Lalit also headed the bench that sentenced Vijay Mallya, who was found guilty of contempt of court in 2017, to four months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000. It was also him as head of the bench that convicted the flamboyant businessman for contempt in May 2017.

As the executive chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) Justice Lalit, announced that the NALSAwill establish a “legal aid” system for the poor and the marginalised in all districts on the lines of the office of public prosecutors.

Justice Lalit had recused himself from hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute in Ayodhya in January 2019. He was appointed a special public prosecutor for the CBI to conduct the trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

His father, U R Lalit, was an Additional Judge of the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court from 1974 to 1976.

Also Read: CJI NV Ramana: ‘Media running kangaroo courts…Taking Democracy Backwards’

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