Justice Uday Umesh Lalit – 49th Chief Justice of India

Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

Senior-most judge of the Supreme Court Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has been appointed because the 49th Jurist of India with President Droupadi Murmu signed his warrant of appointment. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was born on November 9, 1957, to a former court judge. Justice Lalit graduated from Mumbai’s Government Law College and practiced law at the Bombay State Supreme court from 1983 to 1985 before moving his practice to Delhi in 1986.

In a year marked by changes, Justice Lalit will be the primary the second CJI of this year. Justice Lalit’s tenure as CJI is among the shorter ones with only 74 days in office. During this brief period, Justice Lalit won’t only cater to the appointment of judges—the SC are four judges wanting the sanctioned strength—but also a high number of pending cases.

Justice Lalit was a criminal lawyer with many high-profile cases together with his name. He was designated as a senior advocate by the Supreme Court in April 2004.

In his career as an advocate, Justice Lalit appeared as an Amicus Curiae( friend of the court) in many matters. Justice Lalit had also appeared as former Uttar Pradesh State Chief Minister. Justice Lalit later recused himself from the Supreme Court’s constitution bench which heard the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute case.

In 2015, he refused from hearing a plea seeking a good trial within the 2008 Malegaon Blast case because he had represented one in all the accused when he was a lawyer. The identical year, he refused from hearing former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala’s plea within the teachers’ recruitment scam case for the exact reason.

Justice Lalit was also appointed as CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor in the 2G trial case before his elevation to the highest court.

Justice UU Lalit has been a part of several landmark judgments including the one which was one among the path-breaking verdicts of August 2017 judgment by a five-judge constitution bench which by a 2/3rd majority ruled that the practice of divorce through instant ‘triple talaq’ is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

While Justice JS Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favor of putting the judgment on hold for 6 months and asking the govt. to return out with a law to it effect. But, Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, and UU Lalit held the practice against the Constitution.

A bench headed by Justice UU Lalit had also ruled that touching sexual parts of a juvenile’s body or any act involving physical contact with ‘sexual intent’ amounts to ‘sexual assault’ under section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act because the most vital ingredient is sexual intent and not skin-to-skin contact.

Quashing the controversial ‘skin-to-skin’ judgments of the Bombay  Court in two cases under the POCSO Act, the bench said the supreme court erred in holding that there was no offense since there was no direct ‘skin-to-skin’ contact with sexual intent.

The tribunal had held that no offense of sexual abuse under the POCSO Act was made if there was no direct skin-to-skin contact between the accused and the victim.

He shifted his practice to Delhi in January 1986, and in April 2004, he was designated as a senior advocate by the apex court. He was appointed a special prosecuting officer for the CBI to conduct a trial within the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Justice Lalit will have a short tenure of fewer than three months. He will turn 65 on November 8 when he demits office.

 

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