• CJI Justice Bobde recommends his name
• To take over on April 23 when Justice Bobde term ends
New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde has recommended the name of Justice NV Ramana to be his successor. Justice Bobde is scheduled to retire on 23 April 2021. He wrote to the government recommending the name of the number two among the apex court judges in his response to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s letter to the CJI asking him to identify his successor. It has been customary for the sitting CJI to recommend the name of the future CJI two months before the incumbent’s retirement.
Justice Ramana is a Telugu, born in an agricultural family from Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh. He served as a permanent judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court in June 2000. He served as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court before getting elevated to the Supreme Court in February 2014. Justice Ramana will have his tenure as CJI till August 2022. After Justice Kapadia, Justice Ramana would be a CJI for the longest period, 16 months.
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Justice Ramana has been associated with some radical judgments such as ruling that the suspension of internet in Jammu and Kashmir should be reviewed immediately. He was also on the bench of judges which said that the Chief Justice of India’s office also comes under the purview of Right to Information Act.
The recommendation by the CJI was in doubt as he delayed his response. In the wake of the controversial letter written by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to the CJI complaining that the former was interfering in the affairs of the Andhra Pradesh High Court influencing the posting of cases before judges, there was apprehension in the judicial circles whether Justice Ramana would be appointed CJI. After the chief minister letter to the CJI, the chief justice of AP high court Justice Maheswari was transferred to Sikkim high court. This was seen as a follow up action on the part of the CJI. Justice Ramana was also part of the collegiums meeting that recommended the transfer of the chief justices of AP and Telangana high courts. The CJI has obviously rejected the contentions of the CM’s letter regarding Justice Ramana.
Earlier Justice Jasti Chalameswar, also a Telugu judge of the SC, created a sensation when he along with three other senior judges held a media conference and wrote a letter to the CJI complaining about allocation of cases. The four judges said the institution of Supreme Court will not survive if corrective measures were not taken. He also raised an objection to the striking similarities in the letters sent by Justice Ramana and the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Nara Chandrababu Naidu rejecting the proposal to appoint high court judges.
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One of the four judges, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was subsequently made Chief Justice of India and was involved in controversies. All the same, he was appointed as Rajya Sabha member soon after retiring from the SC. First of its kind in the annals of Indian judiciary.
Now that Justice Ramana’s name has been recommended it is only a formality for the government to accept it and promote him as CJI who will take over in the last fortnight of next month.