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RM Lodha

18 July 2014

Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha said that senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who recently withdrew from the process to become a Supreme Court judge after government leaks about his suitability, should be the special public prosecutor in the Coalgate scam cases, reported the PTI.

Lodha, who had expressed his regrets about Subramanium's withdrawal from the judgeship process, told the bar appearing before him and two other judges: "If I failed in something you [lawyers appearing in the matter] persuade [Subramanium]... We want a person of impeccable integrity and fine legal mind."

17 July 2014

“Daring” the government to do away with laws requiring tribunals to be headed by judicial members chief justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha said that it is these laws that create a public perception that retired judges are “running and running and running after tribunals”, reported the Economic Times.

He reportedly said:

The government enacts all these laws insisting that they be headed by judicial members. This creates a perception among the public that retired judges are running and running and running after tribunals

The CJI was part of a five-judge bench hearing a petition challenging the central government’s move to create, among other things, a National Tax Tribunal and a Companies Appellate Tribunal, when he said this.

02 July 2014

During the retirement function of Justice BS Chauhan, Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha said that he had requested Gopal Subramanium to withdraw his resignation from the Supreme Court bench elevation process, reported the Hindustan Times. However, the senior counsel wrote a "30-word regret letter" reiterating his withdrawal from the process, which the CJI discussed with the collegium and two future CJI's and decided not to "pursue" further.

Lodha also said at the function that he was critical of the government's decision to separate Subramanium's file from the other three candidates who were recommended by the collegium. "I have taken objection to the segregation, unilaterally done by the executive without my knowledge and concurrence. It was not proper."

"In the last 20 years, I have fought for independence of the judiciary and for me this is one subject that is non-negotiable... I will be the first man to leave this chair if I know independence of the judiciary has been compromised; I will not hold my office even for a second then."

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Hindustan Times: "The government has the highest regard for the judiciary, including the independence of the Supreme Court and all other courts of India. It also has the highest regard for the Chief Justice of India."

18 June 2014

RM Lodha The SC has said that from 8 July, two benches would only hear miscellaneous matters in service matters, cheque bounce appeals and labour matters.

23 May 2014

Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha has set in motion the transfer of up to nine senior high court judges, reported the Economic Times.

According to senior high court officials four judges had received 'consent-seeking letters' - Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul could become Madras high court chief before his likely elevation to the apex court. Kaul, according to the ET, will be replaced by Karnataka high court's second-most senior judge Justice KL Manjunath, while Punjab and Haryana high court's Justice Jasbir Singh, who is also first puisne judge there, may head to Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh high court Justice Ashutosh Mohunta may return to Punjab and Haryana high court as puisne judge

According to thr ET, Manjula Chellur, chief justice of the Kerala high court could also go to Calcutta; Kerala high court's first puisne Justice KM Joseph to Uttarakhand; Patna's puisne Justice Navin Sinha to Chhattisgarh; Chhattisgarh first puisne Justice Sunil Sinha to Sikkim; and Rajasthan chief justice Amitava Roy to Orissa. [Economic Times]

22 May 2014

Anup SurendranathThe Supreme Court is for the second time in its history attempting to create its own dedicated intellectual and institutional research unit with the appointment of NLU Delhi assistant professor Anup Surendranath to the post of deputy registrar (research).

12 May 2014

New Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha asked, somewhat rhetorically, at a function yesterday why law could not be available 365 days per year, just like medical and health services: "Some of the adjournments of the hearing in the courts are necessary but some of them are altogether needless and can be averted. In the Supreme Court, High Courts and subordinate courts, adjournments should be given only when they are necessary. This can be helpful in bringing acceleration in delivery of justice." [PTI]

07 May 2014

A five-judge constitution bench of CJI RM Lodha and justices HL Dattu, Chandramauli KR Prasad, Madan B Lokur and MY Eqbal ruled in favour of the Tamil Nadu government that the Kerala government must not restrict the water levels in the Mullaperiyar dam.

The bench said that the Kerala law from 2006 was unconstitutional because it violated the doctrine of separation of powers and interfered with the judiciary, which before the law was passed had ordered to raise the dam's water level, reported the Indian Express and The Hindu.

The Supreme Court has now set up a supervisory committee to oversee the raising of the water levels. [Judgment (PDF 158 pages)]

06 May 2014

The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the Right to Education Act under Article 15(5) and 21-A of the Constitution about compulsory education to six to 14-year-olds.

Sitting in two related cases, the constitution bench of CJI RM Lodha and justices AK Patnaik, Dipak Misra, SJ Mukhopadhaya and Ibrahim Kalifulla also ruled as valid the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules 2010, reported The Hindu.

See RTE Judgment: Pramati Educational and Cultural Trust judgment.

In a second education case, the bench decided that the Karnataka government could not force non-Kannada native speakers to use Kannada as the main medium of instruction in primary schools, reported the Hindu.

See: State of Karnataka Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools judgment.

29 April 2014

RM LodhaThe Supreme Court has issued new guidelines for mentioning matters before it, according to a notice posted on the Supreme Court noticeboard.

28 April 2014

The new Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and a bench of two others stayed the death penalty of 2000 Red Fort shootout convict because he had already served 14 years [Times of India]

10 March 2014

A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice RM Lodha said today that lower courts would have to complete criminal trials against lawmakers within a year, by holding day-to-day-hearings, or explain to the respective high court's chief justice why they weren't able to meet the deadline [The Hindu]

05 March 2014

The Supreme Court Justice RM Lodha has taken suo motu cognisance against advocate Manoj Sharma, who threw ink at the Sahara chief Subrata Roy on the Supreme Court premises on Monday [Economic Times]. Lodha instructed the attorney general to find out the facts of the case today. The next hearing is scheduled for 24 March, according to the Indian Express, with Sharma having to explain why he should not be booked for contempt of court.

Sharma, a self-described activist and advocate from a village near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, yesterday removed his shirt in the limelight of the TV cameras after his assault and shouted slogans against Roy, who was jailed in Tihar yesterday by the apex court.

Sharma has a history of unusual and attention-grabbing protests, having thrown a shoe at Suresh Kalmadi, who was the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief [OneIndia has a detailed timeline of his Sharma’s ‘activism’].

Update: Sharma has been sent to Tihar jail for failing to post bail, with police telling the magistrate that he is “mentally unsound” [PTI]

04 February 2014

After the Supreme Court’s second-most senior judge and next Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha said he would be the last person to accept appointment to the Lokpal selection panel, Chief justice of India (CJI) P Sathasivam reportedly nominated the SC’s third-most senior judge HL Dattu to the panel, reported the Indian Express.

The panel, led by the President of India alongside Lok Sabha speaker and leader of the opposition, and an “eminent jurist”, would select select the Lokpal’s chairperson and other members.

Dismissing media reports that he was due to take up the post, Lodha had said in court, according to IANS: “I have not even demitted office. They have named me in the race for Lokpal.”

Lodha will be the next CJI until his retirement on 27 September after Sathasivam steps down on 26 April. Dattu would be CJI for more than a year after Lodha.

In the running for the “eminent jurist” seat on the selection panel are reportedly senior counsel Fali S Nariman, Soli Sorabjee, K Parasaran, Harish Salve, K K Venugopal and attorney general Goolam Vahanvati.