Judgements in five cases marked his last day in office as Justice NV Ramana retired today, after 16 months as Chief Justice of India (CJI), ending an eight-year stint as a Supreme Court judge.
On his final day as CJI, Justice Ramana, who took charge in April 2021, delivered judgements on the ban on “election freebies”, the 2007 Gorakhpur riots case, the Karnataka mining case, the Rajasthan mining lease issue, and liquidation regulations under the bankruptcy law. He shared the Ceremonial Bench with CJI-designate Justice UU Lalit and Justice Hima Kohli.
In a first for the court, on CJI Ramana’s last day, proceedings of the Ceremonial Bench were livestreamed on its website.
In his farewell speech, he said, “I am extremely grateful to all of you. I bow down to all who helped me where I am today. I am demitting office with utmost content.”
“Indian judiciary is known since the advent of democracy. At all times the integrity of the institution will be protected by bar and the bench,” he added.
Yesterday, CJI Ramana had apologised for not being able to give due importance to certain matters of the court. He said: “I must admit that the issue of listing and posting of matters are something I did not pay much attention to. I am sorry. We are busy with many things.”
Speaking at a farewell function organised by Delhi Bar Association, CJI Ramana said: “I have taken up two issues — all of you know — the infrastructure and appointment of judges. Thanks to the support given by my brother and sister judges in Supreme Court and Collegium, we successfully appointed 224 judges in high courts.”
During his tenure, CJI Ramana took several significant judicial and administrative decisions. These included putting the sedition law on hold, reviewing the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, ordering probes into the Pegasus snooping controversy and the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
When he became the 48th CJI, succeeding Justice SA Bobde, the judiciary had a large number of vacancies in the Supreme Court and high courts. CJI Ramana finalised the appointments of a record 11 judges to the Supreme Court and more than 220 judges to high courts.
Born in an agrarian family on August 27, 1957, in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district, Justice Ramana had enrolled as an advocate in 1983. He became a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2000. He later served as the acting Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. In 2013, he was elevated as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and in 2014 he became a Supreme Court judge.