Justice UU Lalit’s name recommended for next Chief Justice of India

by Abbas Adil

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Thursday recommended to the Centre to appoint Justice Uday Umesh Lalit — the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court — as his successor and the next CJI.

“Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India Shri Justice N V Ramana today recommended the name of Hon’ble Shri Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as his successor to the Hon’ble Minister for Law and Justice,” a Supreme Court official said.

CJI Ramana personally handed over a copy of his letter of recommendation dated August 3 to Justice Lalit on Thursday morning, the official added.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday evening had formally written to CJI Ramana requesting him to recommend the name of his successor.

Justice Ramana – who took over as the 48th CJI on April 24, 2021 – is due to retire on August 26.

Appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court on August 13, 2014 directly from the Bar, Justice Lalit would take over as the 49th CJI on August 27, 2022. He would retire on November 8, 2022 and would have a tenure of less than two-and-a-half-months.

Generally, the Centre writes to the CJI requesting him to recommend his successor a month before his retirement. However, this time around the process was delayed.

There has been a convention of the CJI recommending the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court as his successor. Only twice, it was not followed – Justice AN Ray was appointed the CJI on April 25, 1973 superseding three senior-most judges and Justice MH Beg was appointed the CJI on January 29, 1977 superseding Justice HR Khanna.

Born on November 9, 1957, Justice Lalit got enrolled as an advocate in June 1983 and practised in the Bombay High Court till December 1985 before shifting his practice to Delhi in January 1986. He was designated as senior advocate by the Supreme Court in April 2004 and appeared as amicus curiae in several important cases and was appointed Special Public Prosecutor for the CBI to conduct trial in all 2G matters under the orders of the Supreme Court.

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