THE EARLY LIFE AND CAREER OF CJI N.V. RAMANA

Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana was on Saturday sworn in as the 48th chief justice of India (CJI) by president Ram Nath Kovind. He will hold up the post for 16 months, until August 26, 2022.
Outgoing CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde, who got retired on April 23, recommended Justice Ramana’s name as his preferred successor, which the president duly accepted. Now let’s have a glance at his family background and ups and downs that he faced in his journey from his early life till now.

PERSONAL DETAILS:

Full name – Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana
Date of Birth – 27 August ,1957 (age 63)
Place of birth – Ponnavaram, Andhrapradesh, India
Education- B.S.C., B. L. from Aacharya Nagarjuna University
Father – Nuthalapati Ganpathi Rao
Mother – Sarojini
Spouse – Shivamala
Children- N. S. Bhuvana, N. V. Tanuja

EARLY LIFE & CAREER:

  • N.V. Ramana was born in a humble telugu speaking agricultural family in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. He worked too hard to complete his studies. Before becoming a full-fledged lawyer in 1983 he dabbled as a journalist. He worked with Eenadu newspaper from 1979 to 1980 and reported on political and legal matters for the newspaper.
  • He enrolled as an advocate on February 10,1983. He has practiced in High Court of Andhra pradesh. He subsequently moved to Hyderabad and later served as additional Advocate General of Andhra pradesh.
  • He has specialized in Constitutional, Criminal, Service and Inter-State River laws. He has also functioned as Panel Counsel for various Government Organizations.
  • He has functioned as Additional Standing Counsel for Central Government and Standing Counsel for Railways in the Central Administrative Tribunal at Hyderabad.
  • He became the permanent judge of Andhra pradesh High Court in 27 june ,2000.
  • On 2 September 2013, he was made the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and on 17 February 2014 he became a judge in the Supreme Court of India.

HIS KEY INITIATIVES:

Justice Ramana takes over at a time when the judiciary is going back to virtual mode due the second wave of COVID-19 and is entrusted with ensuring uninterrupted access to justice. Citizens are expecting a non – partial fair judiciary as he has spoken for the rights of the people when he was a mere student.

As a student leader he fought for civil liberties during the nationwide emergency in 1975 while sacrificing an academic year which he didn’t have regret to date.

Deciding a batch of petitions against internet restrictions in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, a bench led by him ruled that access to the internet is a fundamental right. It pulled up the government for the telecommunications blackout after the semi-autonomous status of the region was nullified.

He was also part of a bench that brought the CJI’s office under the Right to Information Act. Another bench led by Justice Ramana fast-tracked cases pending against MPs and MLAs.

The judge also delivered verdicts in several politically-sensitive cases including the one related to the Karnataka assembly in 2019 where it was clarified that disqualification under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) for defection could not operate as a bar for contesting elections again.

In the case of Maharashtra, the judge had ordered an immediate floor test in the state assembly to prevent horse-trading in 2019.

In a judgment that put the spotlight on gender inequality when it came to insurance-claim cases, the judge ordered fixing a national income for non-earning homemakers in such matters.

He has advocated the need to implement regional languages as the language of the court to increase participation of rural litigants in the trial process.

MAJOR CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES:

#Upon his elevation as a High Court Judge:

CJI N.V. Ramana’s elevation came under a shadow when a petition was filed against his appointment as a High Court Judge. The petitioners contended before Supreme Court that the justice Ramana was a proclaimed offender in a case of rioting and that he hid this fact when he enrolled himself as a lawyer in 1983.

The case pertained to a large scale rioting in which several students of Nagarjuna University , Guntur, including the judge allegedly damaged public property including transport and buses.

The petitioners in the case were represented by senior advocate, the late Ram Jethmalani and interestingly at the instance of advocate Jethmalani justice Ramana’s appointment was made.

When Ram Jethmalani got to know about this, he wondered what he should do. So, Court suggested him to withdrew from the case.

And, in February 2013 the petition was dismissed with a penalty costing ₹50,000 on the petitioners.

# Upon alleged letter by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh:

In October 2020, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh wrote to the Chief Justice of India accusing justice Ramana and his relatives to have engaged in the corruption for the acquisition of land in Amravati and destabilizing Reddy’s government by influencing the hearing and decision of Andhra Pradesh high court.

Jagan Mohan Reddy requested to CJI to initiate an investigation into the alleged matter and further take necessary action. The All- India lawyer’s union supported the inquiry, however alleged called for strict penalties if the Reddy’s allegations is found to be false.

The Supreme Court after having executed an ‘in – house’ procedure concerning the complaint sent by Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh declared that the complaint stands dismissed. Supreme Court declared that no reason will be provided as everything stood strictly confidential because the procedure for investigation was in – house.

Along with this there were several cases filed against Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy for contempt of court and alleging false accusations against a sitting Supreme Court Judge which are still pending in supreme court and yet to be heard.

HIS MAJOR LANDMARK JUDGEMENTS:

A God-fearing person, according to those who knows him, Justice Ramana has always maintained a calm and composed demeanor during court hearings, only speaking through his judgement and is credited with delivering some landmark verdicts underscoring constitutional values and principles of natural justice. Let’s have a look at some of his landmark judgements:

  • Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix v. Deputy speaker (2016)
    The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice N. V. Ramana quashed the order of the Arunachal Pradesh governor preponing the 6th session of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly by a month without consulting the Chief Minister, Council of Ministers or the Speaker, on account of being violative of Article 163 read with Article 174 of the Constitution of India.
  • Jindal stainless Ltd. v. State of Haryana (2017)
    In this case, the nine-judge bench including Justice Ramana upheld the validity of the imposition of entry tax by the state on the goods that are imported from other state.
  • Central public information officer v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal (2019)
    In the 250- pages long judgement Justice Ramana and DY Chandrachud gave separate but concurring opinions, to the majority opinion given by Justice Sanjeev Khanna.
    The judges upheld that the office of the Chief Justice of India comes under the purview of the Right to Information Act.
  • Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India (2020)
    In this case a three – judge bench including Justice Ramana had asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review all orders restricting telecom/Internet services in a week and put them in public domain.
  • Foundation for media professionals v. Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (2020)
    The bench has constituted a three – members committee to look into demand for allowing 4G mobile internet in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Noticing that since the issues involved it affected the state and the nation, the court found it appropriate to constitute a special committee comprising of the secretaries at national as well as state level to look into the prevailing circumstances and immediately determined the necessity of the continuation of the restrictions in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Md. Anwar v. State of NCT of Delhi (2020)
    A bench comprising of Justice N. V. Ramana, S. A. Nazeer and Surya Kant stated that in order to claim immunity citing mental illness according to section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, the accused needs to display beyond all reasonable doubt that he/she really suffers from an ailment that affects their discretionary judgement.
  • Kirti v. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. (2021)
    In January 2021, the Supreme Court bench involving Justice N. V. Ramana and Surya Kant had ruled that a woman doing house work is no less than her husband’s office work. So, Justice Ramana who had emphasised the idea which was initiated by the top court in the 2001 Lata Wadhwa case, said that housewives need to be paid on the basis of service rendered by them in the house.

Author :

Ranu Sharma