Justice U U Lalit Sworn In As 49th CJI

New Delhi- Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was on Saturday sworn in as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI).

President Droupadi Murmu administered him the oath during a brief ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“Congratulations,” President Murmu said after Justice Lalit signed the register of oath following the swearing-in.

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former president Ram Nath Kovind, former vice president M Venkaiah Naidu and Union ministers, including Kiren Rijiju, were present at the ceremony.

Justice Lalit’s predecessor, Justice N V Ramana, was also present.

After being sworn in, Justice Lalit sought the blessings of his family elders by touching their feet, including that of his 90-year-old father and former high court judge Umesh Ranganath Lalit.

As the CJI, Justice Lalit will have a tenure of 74 days and would demit office on November 8 on attaining the age of 65 years.

Justice D Y Chandrachud, the senior-most judge after Justice Lalit, is next in line to be the chief justice of India.

Speaking at a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to bid farewell to Justice Ramana on Friday, Justice Lalit said he has always believed that the role of the top court is to lay down law with clarity and the best possible way to do it is to have larger benches as early as possible so that the issues get clarified immediately.

“So, we will strive hard to say that yes, we will always have at least one Constitution bench functioning all throughout the year,” he said.

Justice Lalit said one of the areas in which he intends to work is about the listing of cases before the Constitution benches and matters which are specially referred to three-judge benches.

On the issue of listing of matters, he said, ” .I must assure you that we will strive hard to make the listing as simple, as clear, and as transparent as possible”.

Regarding mentioning of urgent matters, Justice Lalit said he would certainly look into it.

“I will have a word with all my learned colleagues on the bench and we will certainly sort that out and very shortly, you will have a clear-cut regime where any urgent matter can freely be mentioned before the respective courts,” he said.

During Justice Lalit’s tenure as the CJI, several important cases, including Constitution bench matters, are likely to come up for adjudication before the apex court.

The top court had recently notified that 25 five-judge Constitution bench matters would be listed from August 29.

Among the important five-judge bench matters which have been listed is a plea challenging the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 which provided reservation to Economically Weaker Sections, the challenge to the WhatsApp privacy policy, and the issue of parliamentarians or legislators claiming immunity from criminal prosecution for taking a bribe to give a speech or a vote in the House.

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