Justice RM Lodha – 41st Chief Justice of India

Justice RM Lodha – 41st Chief Justice of India

Justice RM Lodha, who succeeds Justice Sathasivam, will  swear in as the 41st Chief Justice of India  today (27th April,2014). Speaking at a function at Supreme Court yesterday to bid farewell to Justice P Sathasivam,  outlining his approach, Justice Lodha said “An occasion, such as this, is not appropriate to talk about my plans for Indian judiciary. I reiterate, Supreme Court of India, represents no class, no caste, no majority, no minority...It follows and interprets Constitution and the laws of land...It holds the balance. Presiding over this Court, my task is to hold the balance firmly and ensure that balance tilts towards none," Justice Lodha said.

Justice Lodha is well known  for his brilliance and sharp acumen. Since his pace of understanding  of law and facts is faster, he often used to express displeasure at the sweeping arguments of lawyers which are neither here nor there.

Justice Lodha, son of Justice S.K. Mal Lodha, former Judge of Rajasthan High Court took his law Degree from University of Jodhpur and enrolled with Bar Council of Rajasthan in 1973. He started practicing Law in the Rajasthan High Court and dealt with all branches of law. On January 31, 1994 he was elevated as a Permanent Judge of Rajasthan High Court and later transferred to Bombay High Court where he assumed office on February 16, 1994.

He was Chairman, Advisory Board constituted under the COFEPOSA Act, 1974 and the M.P.D.A. Act, 1981 in the State of Maharashtra. He was re-transferred to Rajasthan High Court where he assumed office on 2nd February, 2007 as an administrative Judge. He was associated with National Law University, Jodhpur as its executive member and has been Chairman of State Judicial Academy, Rajasthan.

In 2008 he was  sworn in as Chief Justice of Patna High Court and in the same year elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

During the past five years in the apex court, he has delivered several landmark judgments. It was his judgment which banned  over-the-counter sale of acid at retail outlets and ordering a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to each acid attack victim,  In another case Satya Pal Anand vs. State of MP [2013 (10) SCALE 88) the Government was directed  to pay Rs. 10 Lakh compensation to the rape victim. In Deepak Aggarwal v. KeshavKaushik,  it was held that on appointment as public prosecutor or Government pleader a person does not cease to be ‘advocate’ under the 1961 Act and the BCI Rules. MedhaKotwalLele v. Union of India which is known as Vishakha-2 he issued further guidelines for protection of women against sexual harassment. In another judgment he held that approval of the Central Government was not necessary under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act for probe and prosecution of senior level officials in a matter where the inquiry/investigation into the crime under the Prevention of Corruption Act is being monitored by the court. The bench headed by him upheld the validity of S.6A of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 which provides the establishment of permanent LokAdalats in Bar Council of India v. Union of India. Recently, while heading the bench Justice Lodha set a deadline of one year for lower courts to complete the trial in cases involving MPs and MLA’s.

Justice Lodha headed the three-member panel which inquired into the allegations of a law intern against the former Supreme Court judge, A.K. Ganguly. The committee held that the statement of the intern, both written and oral, prima facie disclosed an act of “unwelcome behavior.” The report resulted in Justice Ganguly’s  resignation as Chairperson of the West Bengal State Human Rights Commission

Please read the Live Law Report of the views expressed by Justice Lodha, new Chief Justice of India, in an interview given to Mail Today. Read Here