President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday appointed Justice Uday Umesh Lalit the new Chief Justice of India, PTI reported.
He will take charge on August 27, a day after incumbent Chief Justice NV Ramana demits office.
Justice Lalit will be the 49th person to hold the post. However, his tenure as the chief justice will be short as he is due to retire on November 8. After him, Justice DY Chandrachud is in line to take over as the country’s top-most judge. If he becomes the chief justice, he will have a long tenure of about two years.
On August 4, Justice NV Ramana had recommended to the government the name of Justice Lalit as his successor. Justice Lalit is the second senior-most judge in the Supreme Court after Ramana.
Justice Lalit was appointed as a Supreme Court judge on August 13, 2014. Earlier, he was a senior advocate at the Supreme Court.
On August 22, 2017, the judge was part of a majority opinion in the Supreme Court that struck down the practice of triple talaq and declared it unconstitutional. The five-member bench was divided 3-2 on the matter and the majority opinion prevailed.
Justice Lalit also headed a Supreme Court bench that struck down a widely-criticised ruling of the Bombay High Court in a case related to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act on November 18. The Nagpur bench of the High Court had held that groping a minor’s breast without removing her clothes did not fall into the category of sexual assault defined under Section 7 of the POCSO Act.
In January 2019, the judge recused himself from hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, as he had previously represented former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh in a contempt case about the demolition of the mosque.
On November 9, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. The court said that the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 was “an egregious violation of the rule of law” and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land to build a mosque.