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From the internet shutdowns in Jammu and Kashmir to the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case — these are some of the orders and stated positions of the next Chief Justice of India NV Ramana

From the internet shutdowns in Jammu and Kashmir to the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case — these are some of the orders and stated positions of the next Chief Justice of India NV Ramana
  • Justice NV Ramana will assume charge of the India’s judiciary as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) on April 24.
  • The notification by President Ram Nath Kovind to officially appoint him to the post came in today, April 5.
  • Here's a quick look at how the next CJI of India has ruled in some of the most landmark cases in India’s history.
Justice NV Ramana is slated to lead India’s judiciary from April 24. President Ram Nath Kovind has officially announced that Ramana will be the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) as SA Bobde steps down.

Born to a family of agriculturalists in Andhra Pradesh’s Ponnavaram Village, Ramana enrolled as an advocate on 10 February 1983. Now, he has nearly four decades of experience under his belt. In that tenure, he has been a part of many a key case in India’s history.

His experience ranges from being in the court and outside of it. Kicking off his career in Andhra Pradesh, he has served in the state’s High Court, the Central Administrative Tribunal and the state administrative tribunal.

In 2013, Ramana was elevated to become the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. However, his tenure there only lasted a year before he was called to a judge at the Supreme Court.

Off the court, he has served as counsel on many government body panels, put in time as the additional standing counsel for the Central Government, the standing counsel for the Indian Railways at the Central Administrative Tribunal in Hyderabad and as the additional advocate-general of Andhra Pradesh.

“The true duty of a lawyer is to unite people,” said Justice NV Ramana at the convocation ceremony of the Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University (DSNLU) in Visakhapatnam on April 5.

These are the orders and stated positions of India's newest Chief Justice NV Ramana on key cases and issues:

Bench headed by NV Ramana rejected petitions filed by the convicts in the Nirbhaya case — paving the way for their execution

Bench headed by NV Ramana rejected petitions filed by the convicts in the Nirbhaya case — paving the way for their execution
Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi, and her brother at a protest march in New Delhi against the the release of the convicts in the 2012 gang rape and murder caseBCCL

The four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case — Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta — were hanged in Tihar Jail on 20 March 2020.

However, right before their execution, the counsel for Gupta made a last-minute attempt to save them by moving the Supreme Court with a curative petition.

However, the bench led by NV Ramana rejected the petition paving the way for the hanging. “It may have taken time but justice was finally delivered,” Nirbhaya’s mother, Asha Devi, told the press.

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NV Ramana believes that the Right to Information (RTI) Act should not be used as a tool of surveillance against the judiciary — but it is a public authority

NV Ramana believes that the Right to Information (RTI) Act should not be used as a tool of surveillance against the judiciary — but it is a public authority
Justice NV Ramana at the interim High Court complex in Nelapadu village in Amaravathi on 2 March 2019BCCL

According to Ramana, the Right to Information (RTI) Act should not be used as a tool of surveillance against the judiciary. But, in a 2019 verdict, he upheld that the office of the CJI is a public authority and thereby it falls within the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

This means that the CJI’s office is accountable under the RTI to provide information sought in public interest.

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He also stood up for the right to freedom of speech and expression calling on the Central Government to end the indefinite ban on the internet in Jammu and Kashmir

He also stood up for the right to freedom of speech and expression calling on the Central Government to end the indefinite ban on the internet in Jammu and Kashmir
Kashmiri residing in Bengaluru along with activists and volunteers protest against the internet shutdown in Kashmir following the scrapping of Article 370BCCL

In January 2020, the Supreme Court bench led Justice Ramana made it mandatory for the Central Government to publish each and every of its orders, which authorised restricting access to the internet following the abrogation of Article 270.

According to him, the indefinite ban on the internet crippled the fundamental freedoms of over 7 million people within Kashmir. Not only was the ban in violation of the telecom rules, but it stepped on the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression granted by the Indian Constitution.

The internet, at the time, had been suspended for more than 150 days in Kashmir. This was the longest internet blackout in any democracy around the globe. Ramana, along with Justices R. Subash Redy and BR Gavai, ruled that the freedom of speech and expression includes the right to receive and disseminate information as offered by the internet.

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Justice NV Ramana took a stand against patriarchy earlier this year

Justice NV Ramana took a stand against patriarchy earlier this year
The Supreme Court of IndiaBCCL

During a case about insurance compensation in January earlier this year, a bench led by Justice Ramana, took a stand against patriarchy. According to him, a woman’s work at home is equal to a man’s work in office.

The bench ruled that the notional income of homemakers must be calculated and quantified on the basis of the work they do. The contribution must take into account the “work, labour, and sacrifices,” that they put it.

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Ramana believes that it’s time to ‘reconsider’ strengthening certain aspects of the Tenth Schedule

Ramana believes that it’s time to ‘reconsider’ strengthening certain aspects of the Tenth Schedule
16 of the disqualified Karnataka MLAs joined the Bharatiya Janata PartyBCCL

The Tenth Schedule is an anti-defection law to keep elected officials from shifting allegiance to a different party once they come into power. The speaker of the house has the power to disqualify such members, which is what happened in Karnataka.

The controversy then emerged on whether or not these individuals would be allowed to fight for their seat during a by-poll election. The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Ramana ruled that while such Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are allowed to contest the by-polls, it may be time to reconsider strengthening certain aspects of the Tenth Schedule.

He stated that political parties were horse-trading their members and partisan speakers were denying citizens a stable government.

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NV Ramana chose to opt out of the panel probing the harassment allegations against CJI Bobde

NV Ramana chose to opt out of the panel probing the harassment allegations against CJI Bobde
Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind BobdeBCCL

Ramana bowed out of being a part of the committee looking into sexual harassment allegations against CJI Bobde in 2019. In his letter to the Supreme Court, he stated that he was opting out from being a part of the panel because an affidavit was filed — by an ex-Supreme Court employee — raising concerns about his impartiality.

Even though he ‘categorically’ rejected the complaint, Ramana did not want to raise questions to be raised against the judiciary as an institution.

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NV Ramana was also accused of being biased by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister

NV Ramana was also accused of being biased by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan ReddyBCCL

According to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, Ramana influenced the sitting of the state’s High Court. Reddy cited that Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were the beneficiaries to two important judgements. And, in those cases, Ramana was a legal adviser and the additional advocate-general during the Chandrababu Naidu-era.

Reddy’s allegations came in after the Supreme Court bench headed by Ramana ordered proceedings against the Chief Minister in a disproportionate assets case.

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