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Justice NV Ramana: From agricultural fields to 48th Chief Justice of India

Justice NV Ramana: From agricultural fields to 48th Chief Justice of India
- Dheeraj Diwakar & Akshay Kumar, RMLNLU Lucknow

Present Chief Justice of India, Justice SA Bobde is going to retire on April 23. He has recommended the next senior most judge Justice NV Ramana as his successor and 48th CJI. Justice Ramana will take the charge of Chief Justice of India on 24th April, 2021 and is set to retire on 26th August, 2022.  

Overview of his entire Journey

Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana was born on August 27, 1957 in an agricultural family of Ponnavaram village in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh.  On February 10, 1983 he enrolled as an advocate at the bar.  A larger part of his journey resides in the bar, he has practiced in the High court of Andhra Pradesh, State (Andhra Pradesh) and Central Administrative Tribunals and also in the Apex Court. He has been specialized in Constitutional, Civil, Criminal, Service and Interstate River laws. He has also acted as an Additional Standing Counsel for Central Government. He has also acted as an Additional Advocate General of the State (Andhra Pradesh). 

On June 27, 2000, he was appointed as a Permanent Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He also acted as an Acting Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh for the time period from 10th March 2013 to 20th May, 2013. Later on September 2, 2013, he was elevated as a Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. From 17th February, 2014 he was appointed to serve as a Judge to the Apex Court. 

Apart, from law Justice NV Ramana shows a very keen interest in Literature and Philosophy.  

Justice NV Ramana and Civil Liberties

In the year 1975, when the government was about to proclaim emergency Justice Ramana undertook a very difficult journey by Truck having Rs 10 in his pocket from his home to his Maternal Aunt. This journey was on the advice of his father who was well aware of his son’s passion for Civil Liberties. The father feared that his son’s passion might lead him towards the Prison. Justice Ramana was a Student Leader and fought for civil liberties when the Nation was in the dark (Emergency) while sacrificing his one academic year. 

Justice NV Ramana said that situations like Emergency impacts certain generations. His passion for Civil Liberties can be easily witnessed in several of his Judgments. 

Justice Ramana on his judgment in Anuradha Bhasin Vs Union of India ((2020) 3 SCC 637)  observed “Freedom of speech and expression includes the right to disseminate information to as a wide section of population as possible”.

He has been a part of numerous landmark decisions of an Apex Court, such as Electoral Issues, Rights of Women, bringing CJI’s office within the boundaries of Right to Information. 

Important Judgments that Justice Ramana has been a Part of…

Anuradha Bhasin Vs Union of India (2020) 3 SCC 637

In this case, a three judges bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and  BR Gavai  clearly directed the respondents to publish all orders relating to any sort of restrictions including over the Internet so that people can challenge those orders. It was further held that Section 144 of CrPC cannot be used to suppress the voices of discontentment and this is within the ambit of Judicial Enquiry.  So, the state was ordered to review its decision.

Foundations of Media Professionals Vs Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir 2020 SCC OnLine SC 453

In this case, three judges bench comprising of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai constituted a three member committee to go through the demand for allowing 4G mobile Internets in the Union Territory of J & K.

Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix Vs Deputy Speaker (2016) 8 SCC 1

In this case, a five judges Constitutional  Bench comprising of Justices Jagdish Singh Khehar, Dipak Mishra, Madan B Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Bose and NV Ramana kept aside the order of the Governor which prepones the 6th session of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative assembly without any prior consultation with Chief Minister, Council of Minister or the Speaker. The bench held that this order is violative of Article 163 read with Article 174 of the Indian Constitution.  

Roger Mathew Vs South India Bank Limited 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1456

A five Judge Constitutional Bench comprising of the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices NV Ramana, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna upheld the validity of Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017. The Court further held that the provided section does not suffer from excessive delegation of Legislative functions. 

Md. Anwar Vs State of NCT of Delhi 2020 SCC OnLine SC 653

In this case, a 3 Judge bench comprising of Justices NV Ramana, SA Nazeer and Surya Kant held that to claim the defence of Mental Unsoundness provided under Section 84 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 the accused must show preeminence of probabilities that the accused suffered from a serious mental disease which certainly affects the individual’s ability to differentiate between right and wrong. 

On 24th of April 2021, Chief Justice of India’s office is going to witness Justice NV Ramana as a 48th Chief Justice of India. A man who is a great protector of Civil Liberty and the same can be witnessed in his Judgments too.