New Delhi: The Central government has asked Chief Justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit to name his successor as he retires on November 8. As per the Memorandum of procedure of appointment (MoP) of Chief Justice of India and Supreme Court Judges on Friday, the Minister of Law and Justice has written to the Chief Justice of India for sending his recommendations for the appointment of his successor.
There is only a month to go for the retirement of Justice Lalit, who had been sworn in as the Chief Justice of India on August 27 by President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He succeeded Justice NV Ramana, who retired on August 26, 2022. Justice Ramana had recommended Justice Lalit as his successor in keeping with convention and norms of seniority.
The President subsequently confirmed Justice Lalit’s appointment as the new CJI. Justice Lalit tenure would demit office on November 8. As per the established practice of the Chief Justice naming the senior-most judge as his or her successor, Justice DY Chandrachud is expected to be appointed as the 50th Chief Justice of India.
At the farewell function of Justice Ramana, Justice Lalit said that during his tenure of nearly three months he will focus on three key areas and one of his top priorities would be to make the listing of cases simple, clear and as transparent as possible. UU Lalit had also promised to ensure a clear-cut regime where any urgent matters could freely be mentioned before the respective benches of the top court.
He also assured that there will be at least one Constitution Bench functioning throughout the year in the Supreme Court. Justice Lalit had said, “I have always believed that the role of the Supreme Court is to lay down law with clarity, consistency, and the best possible way to do it is to have larger benches as early as possible, wherever the matters are referred to such benches so that the issues get clarified immediately, the matter has consistency and the people are well aware of what exactly are the contours of the peculiar positions in law.”
Justice Lalit was a renowned senior advocate before he became the judge of the apex court. He was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court on August 13, 2014. Justice Lalit has been the second CJI who was directly elevated to the Supreme Court bench from the Bar.
Justice SM Sikri, who became the 13th CJI in January 1971, was the first lawyer to be elevated directly to the top court bench in March 1964. Born on November 9, 1957, in Maharashtra’s Solapur, his father, UR Lalit, was an additional judge at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court and a senior advocate at the Supreme Court.
UU Lalit enrolled as an advocate in June 1983 after specialising in criminal law and practising at the Bombay High Court from 1983 to 1985. He shifted his practice to Delhi in January 1986, and in April 2004, he was designated as a senior advocate by the top court.
He was later appointed a special public prosecutor for the CBI to conduct the trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case. After Justice Lalit’s retirement on November 8, Justice DY Chandrachud is expected to be appointed as the 50th Chief Justice of India.