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Justice U U Lalit: Only a 74-day tenure for a 'very good interim Pope'

As a lawyer, he had been a special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case, besides representing clients like Amarinder Singh, and Salman Khan

Chief Justice of India | Supreme Court | Judges

Bhavini Mishra  |  New Delhi 

Supreme Court judge Justice UU Lalit
Supreme Court judge Justice UU Lalit (Photo: PTI)

The (CJI) on Thursday recommended Uday Umesh Lalit take the reins of the highest judicial office in the country. From being the special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case to delivering the judgement, experts say his 74-day tenure will be like that of a very good ‘interim Pope’.

Sanjay Hegde, a Senior Advocate and someone who has seen Justice Lalit in the corridors of the Supreme Court, says one cannot expect magic from his short tenure, but he is sure that Justice Lalit will do justice to his post. “As a former neighbour and friend at the Bar, we know him as a practitioner of the highest standards of professional conduct. He will always do the honourable thing. To borrow an analogy from the Catholic Church, his tenure will be like that of a very good ‘interim Pope’,” Hegde says.

While he was a Senior Advocate in 2011, Justice Lalit was appointed a special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum allocation case. A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly had directed the Centre to appoint Lalit as the Special Public Prosecutor in the case, ignoring the objections of the Centre and the Enforcement Directorate that he was not qualified for such an appointment.

However, his history of criminal case accolades doesn’t end there. He had represented the government, opposing Dr Binayak Sen's bail plea when he was held on sedition charges. He has also represented former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in a corruption case and actor Salman Khan in the blackbuck poaching case.

Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was elevated to a judge in the on August 13, 2014. His father, UR Lalit, was also a lawyer who later became a judge in the Delhi High Court.

Sameer Jain, Managing Partner, PSL Advocates & Solicitors, says one important expectation from the next CJI would be to dispose of Constitutional Bench matters. “Justice U U Lalit will have a rather short tenure of two months as the . The Bar expects listing and filing procedures to be simplified, and the CJI is the best judge to assess the consumption of the roaster,” he said.

Lalit joined the Bar in June 1983 and has been practising in the apex court since 1986. In 2004, he became a senior advocate.

As an apex court judge, Lalit was part of a five-judge bench and the 3-2 majority in the 2017 cases, which ruled the practice as ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’.

He had earlier recused himself from the Ayodhya hearing because he had appeared for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in a case related to the Babri Masjid demolition.

Justice Lalit was also a part of the bench of the apex court, which held that the ‘sexual intent’, and not the ‘skin-to-skin’ contact with the child, is the most important factor to establish that a child has been sexually assaulted. The top court bench had ruled this after quashing two judgments of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

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First Published: Mon, August 08 2022. 09:35 IST