Lex Bona Fide – Law Journal


(Written by- Aradhaya Singh)

Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana or in short NV Ramana, the senior-most Supreme Court Judge was appointed as the 48th Chief Justice of India by the President of India, RamnathKovind on 6th April 2021. He will be the Chief Justice of India from April 24, 2021. Justice Ramana will take over after the current Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde who is set to retire on April 23, 2021. Justice Ramana will have tenure in the top post of one year and four months, till August 26, 2022. This will be the longest tenure for a Chief Justice of India for nearly a decade. Another fact is that he too will complete eight years and six months at the time of his obsoleteness in the Supreme Court.

Justice Ramana has been a part of 403 judgements till the present date and 157 judgements with more than 110 citations have already been authored by him.

He will be the second person from the state of Andhra Pradesh on the post of Chief Justice of India (earlier, Justice Koka Rao from Rajamahendravaran) and also will be the first judge from Andhra Pradesh High Court to serve as the Chief Justice of India.

Justice Ramana was a first-generation lawyer born in an agricultural family on August 27, 1957. He hails from Ponnavaram village, Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh. Both of his parents that is his father Ganapathi Rao and his mother Sarojni Devi were agriculturalists in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Justice Ramana holds BSc and BL degrees.

He was a student leader during the Emergency in 1975 and lost a year because of activism. Before choosing to become an advocate he had briefly experimented in the field of journalism and worked as a journalist in a leading regional Telugu newspaper for two years.

After then he enrolled as an advocate on February 10, 1983, and practised in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Central and Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunals, and practised in the Supreme Court of India in Constitutional, Civil, Labour, Service and Election matters.

 During his practice years, he had served as an Additional Advocate General for the State of Andhra Pradesh.

Justice Ramana was made Patron-in- chief of the National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA) which was set up on November 9, 1995, and NALSA provides free legal aid to eligible candidates and organizes LokAdalats for the speedy resolution of cases.

He has also functioned as Additional Standing Counsel for the central government and Standing Counsel for Railways in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) at Hyderabad.

After that Justice Ramana was appointed as a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27, 2000.

He functioned as the Acting Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court from March 10, 2013, to May 20, 2013.

Further, he was elevated as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on September 2, 2013, and then after that as a judge of the Supreme Court on February 17, 2014.

He was appointed as chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee from March 7, 2019, to November 26, 2019, and was made the chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) since November 27, 2019.

The E- LokAdalat of Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority (RSLSA) was also made under the guidance of Justice Ramana being the chairman of NALSA and because of that RSLSA took up more than 45,000 cases and out of these cases about 33, 476 cases were settled.

He is a member of the General Council of the National Law School of Indian University (NLSIU) Bengaluru.

He is also the chairman of the Library Committee in Indian Law Institute, Delhi and also the President of Andhra Pradesh Judicial Academy.

In March 2021, Justice SA Bobde recommended him as his successor to the post of CJI. Ramana was appointed as the 48th CJI by the President of India.

Landmark Judgements :

As a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Ramana has been a part of several landmark judgements which included the following :

  • Fast-tracking of trials in cases against legislators.
  • Restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir before and after the abrogation of Article 370.
  • Demand on providing 4G internet service in Jammu and Kashmir where the government had suspended high-speed internet services after scrapping the special status given to the state as per Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories. The bench led by Justice Ramana ruled that the “right to the internet” is a fundamental right provided to citizens.
  • Bringing the office of the Chief Justice of India under the Right to Information Act in the ‘SC vs Subhash C Aggarwal’ case, which said to bring the transparency into the highest office in the judiciary.
  • Rejected the curative petition filed by Pawan Kumar Gupta, one of the convicts of the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. The four of the convicts including Pawan Kumar Gupta were hanged to death in Tihar Jail on 20th March 2020.
  • Noted that India’s anti-defection law mentioned under the Tenth Schedule of the Indian constitution should be reconsidered in the Karnataka Assembly case.
  • He took a stand against patriarchy, asserting that a women’s work at home is equal to a man’s work in the office.
  • Aircel Maxis deal case in 2017.
  • Impeachment case of the Chief Justice of India.
  • Arunachal Pradesh president’s rule case.
  • He also gave the constitutionality of Part XIV of the Finance Act, 2017 which mentions pertaining to tribunals.
  • Article 35A constitutionality.
  • Triple Talaqcriminalisation.
  • MLA Bribery case.
  • Bail to be granted in a stringent law like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Justice Ramana also faced false, motivated and baseless allegations from YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh who faces trial investigated by the CBI and the ED in a dozen of cases. The current Chief Justice of India, Justice SA Bobde had recently dismissed the complaint of the Andhra Pradesh chief minister against justice Ramana before recommending his name as his successor.

Last but not the least, the new chief justice of India, Justice Ramana will face many challenges as the Covid 19 pandemic had disrupted the physical hearings. As said by him his primary objective along with providing easy access to justice also would be to improve the judicial infrastructure by making a nodal agency called the ‘ National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation’.