Know Your 48th Chief Justice: Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana

By | April 23, 2021
Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana

President Ram Nath Kovind on April 6 appointed Justice NV Ramana as the 48th Chief Justice of India (CJI), accepting the recommendation made by his predecessor SA Bobde, who is due to retire on April 23. Justice Ramana, 63, who will take oath on April 24, will remain in office until August 26, 2022. It will be the longest tenure for a CJI in nearly a decade. Born on August 27, 1957, in an agricultural family in the Ponnavaram village in Krishna district of undivided Andhra Pradesh, Justice Ramana was a student leader during the nationwide Emergency in 1975. He lost an academic year too during his days as a student activist.

Introduction

The Chief Justice of India is the senior-most judge and the chief of the Supreme Court of India. He is also the highest-ranking official in the Indian federal judiciary system. As per the provisions of the Constitution of India, the President has the power to nominate and appoint a chief justice, with the advice and approval of the Parliament of India. The tenure of a Chief Justice is till the age of sixty-five or until removed by impeachment.

Being the head of the Supreme Court, the chief justice has the responsibility to allocate cases and appoint constitutional benches regarding important matters of law. According to Article 145 of the Indian Constitution, the chief justice allocates work to other judges who are duty-bound to refer the matter back to the chief justice. Other than the judicial functions, the chief justice also carries out certain administrative functions such as maintaining the roster, appointing the court officials and many other miscellaneous matters.

On April 6, 2021, Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana was appointed as the 48th Chief Justice of India. The 63-year-old Justice Ramana will take over as the chief justice on 24th April, after the retirement of the incumbent CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde.[1] Justice Ramana would retire on 26th August 2022.[2]

Career

Justice Ramana hails from a humble agrarian family. He was born on 27th August 1957 in a village named Ponnavaram in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Before entering into law as a career, Ramana worked as a journalist for a local newspaper for two years. On 10th February 1983, he was enrolled at the Bar as an Advocate in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Central Administrative Tribunal and the Supreme Court of India. He has served as a member of Panel Counsel for multiple government organisations such as Indian Railways.

He has proficiency in Civil and Criminal law and vivaciously managed issues relating to Constitution, Labour, Administration, Inter-State River Disputes and Election. He was delegated as a permanent Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27, 2000, and furthermore worked as Acting Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court w.e.f. March 10, 2013, to May 20, 2013.[3]

Justice Ramana started different measures for the advancement of the legal system of India while he was the President of the Andhra Pradesh Judicial Academy and presented Regional Judicial Meetings focusing on Administration of Criminal Justice.

He has presented significant changes in the preparation of Judicial Officers, and furthermore the Quasi-Judicial Officers from Securities and Exchange Leading group of India, Commissioners of Central Labour Department and Recorders of Co-employable Department. During his tenure as Leader of Judicial Academy, he coordinated a joint meeting, first-ever in the history of India, for the Judicial Officers, all positions, Police officers, Correctional Services Authorities, Juvenile Justice Sheets, Advocates, Prosecutors, Women bodies, Social gatherings and Media agents to have an exchange on the developing crime of sexual assault on women.

His proposals to adequately handle the sexual assaults on women made to Justice Verma Commission prompted the alteration of the Code of Criminal Procedure to a certain degree. As Judge of High Court, his bearings to the State to fill the opportunities of Public Prosecutors has brought about accelerating of criminal proceedings and changed the speed of criminal justice administration. He has been at the forefront for transparency in the legal procedures and voiced his concern to implement local languages in courts for better functioning and increased efficiency in the trial process.

Justice Ramana has taken part are chaired various international and national conferences and workshops worldwide. He has authored papers on various legal issues concerning “Global Legal Education”. He has actively taken part in different programmes of the National Legal Services Authority for spreading basic legal awareness among the general public and for the delivery of a speedy judicial system. He was invited by the United Kingdom to examine their Justice Delivery System.

Justice Ramana was made the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court w.e.f. 02.09.2013 and further raised as Judge, Supreme Court of India w.e.f. 17.02.2014. He is a Member of the General Counsel of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. He is moreover a member of the General Body and Governing Council and Executive Advisory group of National Judicial Academy. He is also a member of the Public Judicial Academic Council in the National Judicial Foundation. In addition to this, he is also a Member of Governing Council, furthermore, the Chairman of the Library Committee in Indian Law Institute, Delhi.

He is right now a Visitor at Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam and National Law University, Delhi. Justice Ramana is a keen supporter of judicial reforms, especially the Alternate Dispute Redressal system and promotes the use of technology in the Indian Judicial System. He thrusts for the implementation of the justice delivery system in regional languages and advocates for adopting suitable measures for delivering speedy justice to the masses particularly the weaker and downtrodden sections of the society. He has a keen interest in Philosophy and Literature besides Law.

Controversy

In October 2020, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India concerning the fact that Justice Ramana along with his relatives was involved in corruption with respect to land acquisition in Amravati.[4] He also accused the judge of destabilising and influencing the government by his decisions and hearings in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

There were sides of provocation and support. The latter came from the legal fraternity, comprising of lawyers, judges and even the All India Lawyer’s Union.[5] In one of his press conferences, Ramana spoke on the issue mentioning his grief by saying that, “judges often become soft targets for criticism and victims of juicy gossip and slanderous social media posts”.[6]

In March 2021, the Supreme Court issued a statement indicating that according to an in-house procedure for investigating complaints, the allegations against Ramana had been found to be “meritless” and closed the investigation.[7]


References

[1] Chief Justice Of India SA Bobde Recommends Justice NV Ramana As Successor”. NDTV.com. Retrieved 24 March 2021.

[2] “BREAKING: President Appoints Justice NV Ramana As Next Chief Justice Of India”. LiveLaw. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021

[3] NV Ramana: bio”. Supreme Court of India. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.

[4] “In a rare letter to CJI, Andhra CM lists allegations against SC’s Judge No. 2”. The Indian Express. 11 October 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.

[5] HC Bar panel condemns Jagan’s allegations against Justice Ramana”. The Indian Express. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.

[6]Judges are seen as soft targets… victims of juicy gossip: Justice Ramana”. The Indian Express. 13 September 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.

[7] “Supreme Court Dismisses Andhra Pradesh Allegations Against Justice NV Ramana”. NDTV.com. Retrieved 8 April 2021.


  1. Law Library: Notes and Study Material for LLB, LLM, Judiciary and Entrance Exams
  2. Legal Bites Academy – Ultimate Test Prep Destination

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *