Justice Uday Umesh Lalit appointed as 49th Chief Justice of India, his historic decisions including triple talaq

Justice U U Lalit, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, who is in line to become the next Chief Justice of India (CJI), has been a part of several landmark judgments, including the practice of instant divorce through ‘triple talaq’. Illegal and unconstitutional among Muslims.

Justice Lalit is in line to become the 49th CJI of India on August 27, a day before Justice NV Ramana stepped down. Justice Lalit, a noted senior advocate, was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court on 13 August 2014. He has since been involved in the delivery of several landmark judgments of the apex court.

One of the path-breaking decisions was the August 2017 judgment by a five-judge Constitution Bench, which by a 3-2 majority termed the practice of instant divorce through ‘triple talaq’ as “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. .While the then Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favor of staying the judgment for six months and asking the government to bring in a law to that effect, Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman and U U Lalit considered this practice to be a violation of the Constitution. Justices Khehar, Joseph and Nariman have since retired.

In another important decision, a bench headed by Justice Lalit had empowered the then royal family of Travancore to manage the historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala, which is one of the richest temples, observing that “the heritage The rule of should be linked to a right of shebait of the temple ”(servant).

The bench allowed the appeal of the legal heirs of Utharama Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the younger brother of the last ruler Sri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, set aside the Kerala High Court’s 2011 judgment which directed the state government to set up a trust went. Management of the temple and control of the property.

A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit had ruled that touching of the sexual parts of a child’s body or any act involving physical contact with ‘sexual intent’ is punishable under section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. Under what is considered ‘sexual assault’. The most important component is sexual intent and not skin-to-skin contact.

While setting aside the controversial ‘skin-to-skin’ judgment of the Bombay High Court in two cases under the POCSO Act, the bench had observed that the High Court erred in holding that there was no offense as there was no direct ‘skin-to-skin’ was. ‘ Contact with sexual intent. The High Court had held that if there is no direct skin-to-skin contact between an accused and a victim, then no offense of sexual harassment under the POCSO Act is made out.

Born on November 9, 1957, Justice Lalit enrolled as an advocate in June 1983 and practiced in the Bombay High Court till December 1985. He shifted his practice to Delhi in January 1986, and in April 2004, he was designated as a Senior Advocate. by the top court. He was appointed a special public prosecutor for the CBI to conduct the trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case. Justice Lalit is due to retire on November 8, 2022.