BIOGRAPHY OF CHIEF JUSTICE RAJENDRA MAL LODHA

Succeeding Justice P. Sathasivam, Mr, Rajendra Mal Lodha became forty first Chief Justice of India on April 27, 2014. Justice Lodha, aged 64, is the most senior judge of the Supreme Court after CJI P Sathasivam. He served the nation for a period of 5 months as Chief Justice of India and retired on July 27, 2014. Justice R. M. Lodha conjointly served as a judge in the Supreme Court for 6 years and authored a total of 273 judgements. He was better-known for his grip over the law, his court strategy, his sense of humour and his fearlessness.

Throughout his tenure, as a Judge, Mr. Lodha preponderantly worked on criminal matters and was concerned in landmark cases around corruption and extra-judicial encounters. He headed the Bench that monitored CBI’s probe into coal blocks allocation scam. He was conjointly instrumental in passing orders creating CBI free from any political interference. A bench headed by him had stated that CBI doesn’t need sanction from the govt. to prosecute senior officers in cases being monitored by courts.

He is better-known to have pronounced the judgment in Indian Premier League cricket tournament case that occurred in 2015 whereby a committee headed by the Justice RM Lodha, suspended the house owners of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from the Indian Premier League for amount of 2 years for alleged involvement in betting.

EARLY LIFE, EDUCATION AND CAREER

Born on 28 July, 1949 at Jodhpur within the family of Judges, Justice Lodha is alleged to own law in his DNA. His father Mr. Srikrishna Mal Lodha was Rajasthan High Court Judge, his uncles Chand Mal Lodha and Guman Mal Lodha were chief justices of alternative courts. After finishing his LLB degree from Jodhpur University he got listed as an associate advocate in the year 1973 with Rajasthan Bar Council. He practiced within the Rajasthan High Court. He possessed specialization in all walks of advocacy including Constitutional, Criminal, Civil, Company, Labour, etc. many times, as special counsel, he depicted Rajasthan Government in vital matters.

In the year 1994, he was appointed as Permanent Judge of the High Court of Rajasthan. Later he was transferred to Bombay High Court. He was Judge of Bombay High Court for 13 years. During his tenure at Bombay high Court, he was involved in administration of the High Court of Bombay as chairman of many important committees, as Senior Administrative Judge, etc. He was also the chairman of Advisory Board formed under COFEPOSA Act of 1974 and M. P. D. A. Act of 1981. Naturally, he was one of the most loved judges of the high court.

In the year 2007, when a decision was taken to appoint Justice Swatantra Kumar as the chief justice of the Bombay high court, he chose to seek a transfer back to his home state Rajasthan rather than work under a chief justice who was junior to him, and rightly so.  He served as administrative Judge of the High Court of Rajasthan. He was the executive Chairman of NLU, Jodhpur. He was also the Chairman of Rajasthan State Judicial Academy. In 2008, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of Patna High Court. Further, he elevated to the Supreme court of India as a permanent Judge, After retiring as a Chief Justice of India, he headed the Lodha Committee that was shaped for analysing and recommending actions for improvement of BCCI.

NOTABLE JUDGMENTS PRONOUNCED BY JUSTICE R. M. LODHA

Mr. R. M. Lodha is understood to own as much for his grip over the law as for his participating courtroom strategy. He is considered as one among the simplest judges by each prosecution and defence. As a Judge, Justice Lodha led a five-judge constitutional bench in Subramanian Swamy v. Director, CBI. The petitioners challenged section 6(A) of the Delhi Special Police institution Act, 1946 that exempted a precise cadre of civil servants from investigation while not previous permission of the Central Government. Writing for the Bench, J. Lodha affected down the Section on the bottom of equality.

He delivered the judgment in People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. the State of Maharashtra whereby he noted that the extra-judicial encounters were an instantaneous violation of the proper to life below Article 21: He mandated that police encounters needed a separate investigation and set down pointers to manipulate it.

Justice Lodha had always defended the dignity of the judiciary, it was him who issued contempt proceedings against the former Army Chief General VK Singh. Lodha while dealing with under-trial detention, interpreted section 436A of the CrPC and directed all states to release all under trials who had already undergone detention for half the maximum period of imprisonment. It showed the chief’s commitment to constitutional morality and basic human rights, which was reminiscent of Prof Upendra Baxi’s post-emergency narrative of people-oriented judicial activism. Lodha also gave a landmark decision on extra judicial killings, further protecting fundamental rights of citizens, laying down stringent guidelines to be followed by the police. Chief justice Lodha, in his commitment to an independent and honourable judiciary and his idealism, certainly did just that, and more.

Image Source: India Today

REFERENCES:

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