Retirement of first generation Supreme Court Judge: Justice L Nageswara Rao

Justice L Nageswara Rao

Earlier Life:

Justice L Nageswara Rao was born on 8th June 1957 (age 64) in Pedanandipadu, Andhra Pradesh, India. He completed his schooling at Loyola Public School, Guntur and JKC College, Guntur, and TJPS College, Guntur.


He did his law at Nagarjuna University at Guntur and was enrolled as an advocate in 1982 at the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh. After practicing law at Guntur District Court for two years, he shifted to Andhra Pradesh High Court and remained there till December 1994. He practiced in Andhra Pradesh High Court before shifting his practice to the Supreme Court of India. He was designated as a Senior Advocate in 2000.

He was one of the most highly paid lawyers in the country. From January 1995 to May 2016, he practiced as a lawyer at the Supreme Court and became a senior advocate and then Additional Solicitor General. He served as an Additional Solicitor General of India thrice in his lifetime.

Firstly, under the NDA government from August 8, 2003, till his resignation in 2004. Secondly, UPA Government appointed him as Additional Solicitor General of India in August 2013 and he resigned in May 2014. His third stint as Additional Solicitor General of India was from June 7 to December 15, 2014 under the present Government.

He was also on the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee that probed the allegations of corruption against the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and spot-fixing in the IPL (Indian Premier League). Justice Rao was invited to the Supreme Court Bench in 2016. He accepted and became only the seventh apex court judge to be directly appointed from the Bar.

Landmark Judgements by Justice L. Nageswara Rao:

  1. Madras Bar Association v Union of India

In Madras Bar Association v Union of India, the  bench, comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta, and S. Ravindra Bhat, directed the Centre to constitute a National Tribunal Commission, which will act as a central body to regulate the appointment of members to tribunals across the country, and set the term of service of such members to 5 years, eligible for reappointment and that members like Vice-Chairman, Vice-Chairperson and Vice President shall be eligible to hold office till the attainment of 67 years of age. A progressive judgment of its kind, it even permitted the appointment of Advocates with ten years of experience as judicial members of tribunals. These observations came in the wake of a petition filed by the Madras Bar Association, challenging the constitutional validity of the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal, and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience, and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2020.

  1. Yamuna Expressway Industrial … vs M/S Shakuntla Education and Others.

This batch of appeals challenges the judgment and order passed by the Allahabad High Court in 2020 in various writ petitions filed by the allottees of plots of land. The writ petitions were filed challenging the demand of an additional amount made by the appellant herein Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority in respect of plots of land leased out to the allottees.

A Two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice BR Gavai passed a Judgment dated 19-05-2022 in Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority etc., vs Shakuntla Education and Welfare Society & Others, etc., Civil Appeal Nos. 4178-4197 of 2022 and other connected matters, and allowed land acquisition by Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority as it was in the larger interest of farmers and in case of conflict between public interest and private interest, the former shall prevail.

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