Uday Umesh Lalit is India’s 49th and incumbent Chief Justice. He previously served as a Supreme Court of India Justice. Before being appointed as a judge, he worked as a senior attorney at the Supreme Court. Justice Lalit is one of six senior counsels appointed directly to the Supreme Court.
Educational Qualification and Family
- Uday U Lalit was born into the family of U.R. Lalit, a senior attorney at the Supreme Court of India and a retired additional justice of the Bombay High Court Nagpur bench.
- He was raised in Solapur, Maharashtra, his family’s hometown.
- Ranganath Lalit, his grandfather, was also a lawyer who presided over two different municipal banquets when Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru toured Solapur.
- He has a wife named Amita Lalit. He holds a legal degree from the Government Law College in Mumbai.
- Lalit became a Maharashtra and Goa Bar Council member in June 1983.
- He began his legal career with advocate M.A. Rane, a proponent of the radical humanism school of thought who considered that social work was just as vital as creating a solid legal practice.
- In 1985, he relocated to Delhi and joined the chambers of veteran attorney Pravin H. Parekh.
- Lalit started working with former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee from 1986 to 1992.
- Lalit enrolled and was certified as an Advocate-on-Record at the Supreme Court on May 3, 1992. Lalit was appointed as a senior attorney of the Supreme Court on April 29, 2004.
- Lalit was appointed as the special public prosecutor for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 2G spectrum proceedings by a Supreme Court panel of Justices G. S. Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly in 2011.
- The court stated that Lalit’s appointment was “eminently fit” in the interest of a fair prosecution of the case.
- His professional qualities are “thoroughness with the case, patience in clarifying legal problems, and a calm demeanour when presenting the case before the bench.
As a member of the Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court collegium, led by then Chief Justice of India Rajendra Mal Lodha, recommended his admission to the Supreme Court as a judge in July 2014.
- On August 13, 2014, he was chosen as a judge, becoming just the sixth lawyer to be immediately promoted to the Supreme Court.
- In 2017, he was part of a five-judge panel that ruled against the unconstitutionality of triple talaq, a practice used by Indian Muslim males to divorce their wives by saying “talaq” (divorce) multiple times.
- The judgment prohibiting the practice was pronounced by J S Khehar, Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, and Abdul Nazeer, in addition to Lalit.
- On January 10, 2019, Judge Lalit abstained from the Ayodhya dispute case before a five-judge bench.
- Rajeev Dhavan brought his attendance for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in a ‘related case’ to the court’s attention, and the court highlighted in its ruling Justice Lalit’s ‘disinclination’ to join in the matter. He has also withdrawn from several other high-profile cases.
- In May 2021, he was a member of the bench that denied bail to Gautam Navlakha, the accused activist, in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon incident.
As India’s Chief Justice
- President of India Droupadi Murmu named him as the 49th Chief Justice of India on August 10, 2022.
- On August 27, 2022, President Droupadi Murmu swore him as the 49th Chief Justice of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
- He is just the second direct appointment from the bar to serve as Chief Justice of India.