Justice UU Lalit appointed as CJI, was involved in the decision to declare triple talaq unconstitutional

Pankaj Prasad
Justice Uday Umesh Lalit
Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

Justice Lalit will take charge on August 27, a day after the retirement of the current Chief Justice Justice N. V. Raman.

Justice Uday Umesh Lalit will be the second Chief Justice of the country to be directly elevated from the Bar to the Supreme Court bench. Justice Lalit was on Wednesday appointed as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI) after President Draupadi Murmu signed the warrant of appointment. Before him, Justice SM Sikri was the first lawyer to be directly elevated to the apex court bench in March 1964. He became the 13th CJI in January 1971.

short term of three months

Justice Lalit will take charge on August 27, a day after the retirement of the current Chief Justice Justice N. V. Raman.  Justice Lalit will have a brief tenure of less than three months as CJI and will retire on November 8 this year. The retirement age of Supreme Court judges is 65 years. Justice Lalit was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court on 13 August 2014. He was a senior advocate then.

declared triple talaq unconstitutional

He has been a part of many historic decisions including outlawing the practice of triple talaq among Muslims. A five-judge constitution bench had in August 2017 declared 'triple talaq' unconstitutional by a 3:2 majority. Justice Lalit was also among those three judges. In January 2019, he recused himself from hearing in the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya.

UU Lalit was the lawyer of Kalyan Singh

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for one of the Muslim parties in the case, had told the Constitution Bench that Justice Lalit had appeared in a related matter in 1997 as the counsel for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. Recently, a bench headed by Justice Lalit sat at 9.30 am, an hour before the normal time of the apex court to hear the cases. Justice Lalit had said, "I think ideally we should sit at nine in the morning. I have always said that if our children can go to school at seven in the morning, why can't we come at nine. A bench headed by him had set aside the controversial judgment of the Bombay High Court on skin-to-skin contact in a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.

Sexual intent is the most important cause of sexual assault

The top court had said that the most important component of sexual assault is sexual intent, not skin-to-skin contact of children. Born on November 9, 1957, Justice Lalit became a lawyer in June 1983 and practiced in the Bombay High Court till December 1985. He moved to Delhi in January 1986 to practice law and in April 2004, he was designated a senior advocate by the apex court. He was appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to hear the 2G spectrum allocation case.