Uday Umesh Lalit: New Chief Justice of India

On August 27, 2022, President Droupadi Murmu swore UU Lalit as the 49th Chief Justice of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

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.

Professional life

  • 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.