President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday administered the oath of office to Justice U.U. Lalit as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI) with effect from August 27, 2022.
The oath taking ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, former Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, former President Ram Nath Kovind, Supreme Court Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, S. Abdul Nazeer, M.R. Shah, Dinesh Maheshwari, as well as other apex court judges and dignitaries.
Earlier this month, the Central government had issued a notification appointing Justice Lalit to the top post, following a recommendation made by former CJI Ramana, who demitted office on August 26.
On August 13, 2014, Justice Lalit was elevated to the apex court directly from the Bar. He will however, have a short tenure of as the Chief Justice as he will retire on November 8.
After late Justice S.M. Sikri, who was appointed directly from the Bar to the apex court as a judge, Justice Lalit will be the second CJI, being directly appointed from the Bar.
Justice Sikri was the 13th CJI from January 1971 to April 1973. Justice Lalit, who specialises in criminal law, was designated as a senior advocate by the Supreme Court in April 2004. He was appointed as the special public prosecutor by the top court for the CBI in all the 2G spectrum scam cases. He also worked with late Attorney General Soli Sorabjee between 1986 and 1992.
In July, during a hearing on a matter, Justice Lalit remarked that if children can go to school at 7 a.m. everyday in the morning, then why can't judges and lawyers come to court at 9 a.m. "Ideally, we should sit at 9 in the morning. I have always said that if our children can go to school at 7 in the morning, why can't we come to court at 9?"
The bench also comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia then began hearing cases at 9.30 a.m. A bench headed by Justice Lalit sentenced fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya to four months of imprisonment along with fine of Rs 2,000 for contempt of court.
He was a part of a five-judge Constitution bench that declared the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional.