NEW DELHI: Senior-most Supreme Court judge Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana was on Tuesday appointed as the next Chief Justice of India.
According to a notification issued by the government, Justice Ramana would take over as the 48th CJI on April 24 after incumbent CJI S A Bobde demits office a day before. Justice Ramana would retire on August 26, 2022.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from 24th April, 2021," the notification read.
As per convention, Principal Secretary to the prime minister PK Mishra and Secretary (Justice) in the Law Ministry Barun Mitra handed over the warrant of appointment signed by the President to Justice Ramana this morning, sources said.
Justice Bobde had recently recommended Justice Ramana as his successor in keeping with convention and norms of seniority.
The CJI's recommendation to the union government had came on a day when the Supreme Court had made public its decision to dismiss a complaint of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy against Justice Ramana after giving the matter "due consideration".
As per norms, a written communication from the incumbent Chief Justice is sent a month before his retirement.
Born on August 27, 1957 in Ponnavaram village of Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district, Justice Ramana was enrolled as an advocate on February 10, 1983.
He was appointed as a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27, 2000 and functioned as acting Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court from March 10, 2013 to May 20, 2013.
Justice Ramana was elevated as the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on September 2, 2013 and was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court on February 17, 2014. Justice Ramana has dealt with several high-profile cases in the apex court.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Ramana had in March last year declined to refer to a larger seven-judge bench a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre's decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370.
He was part of a five-judge constitution bench which had in November 2019 held that office of the CJI is a public authority under the Right to Information Act.
In the November 2019 verdict, the top court had also said that "judicial independence has to be kept in mind" while disclosing information in "public interest".
In an another important verdict, Justice Ramana-led bench had in January last year held that freedom of speech and conducting business on the Internet are protected under the Constitution and had directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to immediately review curb orders.
The bench had directed the authorities in the Union Territory to immediately review all orders suspending Internet services and said orders not in accordance with the law must be revoked.
He was also a part of a five-judge constitution bench of the top court which had in a landmark verdict in 2016 ordered restoration of the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh, saying the "clock should be turned back", as it quashed all decisions of the Governor that precipitated its fall in January, holding them "violative" of the Constitution.
In November 2019, a bench led by Justice Ramana had ordered floor test for then Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to prove his majority in the House saying there is a "possibility of horse trading" in case of delay.
Justice Ramana-led bench has also dealt with a plea which raised the issue of inordinately delay in disposal of criminal cases against former and sitting lawmakers.
In September last year, the bench had said there has been 'no substantial improvement' in disposal of pending criminal cases against sitting and former lawmakers and directed the chief justices of high courts to submit an action plan for rationalisation of special courts to deal with these matters.