Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana is India’s 48th and current Chief Justice has been a voice for people. Critical of the Government and its decision, Justice Ramana has contributed significantly to various major decisions made in the country.
From the restoration of the internet in Jammu and Kashmir to the decision to bring the office of Chief Justice under the purview of RTI, Justice NV Ramana has had important say in these decisions.
Born on 27 August 1957, Justice Ramana hails from a Telugu-speaking agrarian family from Ponnavaram village in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.
With a Bachelor of Science degree and Bachelor of Legislative Law degree, he worked as a journalist for the regional Eenadu newspaper for two years. As a student leader, Ramana had fought for civil liberties during the nationwide Emergency in 1975 while sacrificing an academic year.
Ramana enrolled as an advocate on 10th February 1983. He practiced in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Central and Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunals and the Supreme Court of India in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional, Labour, Service and Election matters and specialized in Constitutional, Criminal, Service and Inter-State River laws.
He has also functioned as Panel Counsel for various Government Organizations. Before becoming the permanent Judge of Andhra Pradesh High court on 27 June 2000, he had functioned as Additional Standing Counsel for Central Government, Standing Counsel for Railways in the Central Administrative Tribunal at Hyderabad and Additional Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh and has also participated in national and international conferences on many subjects of legal importance.
From 10 March 2013 to 20 May 2013, he was the acting Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court before being appointed as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on 2nd September 2013.
About half a year later, on 17th February 2014, he became a judge in the Supreme Court of India. In March 2021, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, the then and 47th Chief Justice of India, recommended Ramana, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after Justice Bobde, as the successor to the post of CJI.
Ramana was appointed as the 48th CJI by the President of India on 6 April 2021. He took Oath as 48th Chief Justice of India on 24 April 2021. The Oath was Administered by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Justice Ranjana’s three-month term ended on July 24. In the first quarter of his tenure, Justice Ramana has given many important decisions and many believe him to be the reason for people’s confidence in India’s judicial system to be increasing.
In his article on The Indian Express, talking about the actual meaning of the law, he wrote, “When talking about the Rule of Law, it is necessary to first understand what the law is. Law, in its most general sense, is a tool of social control that is backed by the sovereign. However, is this definition complete in itself? I would think not. Such a definition of law makes it a double-edged sword. It can be used not only to render justice but it can also be used to justify oppression.
Renowned scholars have, therefore, argued that a law cannot really be classified as a “law” unless it imbibes within itself the ideals of justice and equity. An “unjust law” might not have the same moral legitimacy as a “just law”, but it might still command the obedience of some sections of the society to the detriment of others.”
It was after the statement of the Supreme Court that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had announced free vaccines in the country.
During the hearing in the Supreme Court on the sedition law, Chief Justice of India NV Ramanna targeted the government while commenting. “If a party does not want to hear the opinion of the other party, the sedition law is easily used against them”.
The CJI said that the controversy regarding this law is that it is colonialism and a similar law was used by the British to silence Mahatma Gandhi. The bench said that this law is a serious threat to the functioning of the institutions and has such immense power which can be misused.
Chief Justice NV Ramanna has also expressed concern about the attitude of the government towards the health sector of the nation. He said that the medical sector not being given priority by the government is an urgent matter of concern.
Addressing an event on World Medical Day, he said that many cases of attacks on doctors have been reported in different parts of the country. He added that our doctors are being mercilessly attacked in the line of duty.
Addressing a virtual event on National Doctors’ Day on Thursday, he had said “It is saddening to see that good and qualified doctors cannot start a decent hospital of their own and survive. Even after 8 to 9 years of rigorous learning, doctors struggle to get decent salaries.”
He further praised the medical fraternity’s sacrifices in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, he saluted “all the heroes without the cape”.
He asked that the doctors’ professionals should bear the brunt of the government’s failure for someone else. Medical doctors are suffering from the failures of the government.
Meanwhile, reports of floating bodies found in the Ganges River also surfaced, pictures of bodies buried in the sand also targeted the government for the kind of arrangements in the hospital during his address on Doctor’s Day.
Justice Ramana said issues such as an insufficient number of medical professionals, infrastructure, medicines, outdated technologies, and government not giving priority to the medical sector are issues of immediate concern.
“While the world is still reeling under the devastating impact of the pandemic, our doctors have been tirelessly and selflessly fighting against the deadly pandemic,” the Chief Justice added.
Justice Ramana expressed concerns over reports of attacks on doctors fighting the pandemic. “Why is it that the profiteering by corporates and investors is being blamed on doctors?” he asked.
While addressing the 17th PD Desai Memorial Lecture, he said that the beauty of democracy lies in the fact that common citizens also have a role in this system. He said that the judiciary should have complete independence. It cannot be controlled directly or indirectly by the legislature executive.
If this is done then the rule of law will remain a sham. For many such big decisions, he has also continuously worked to raise the failures of the Center. Questions were also raised about the credibility of the Supreme Court.
In such an era, Chief Justice NV Ramana has raised hopes of change as soon as he took over as the Chief Justice. Addressing the inaugural India-Singapore Mediation Summit 2021 where he and Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon were keynote speakers, CJI Ramana said: “The Indian judicial system is unique not only because of a written Constitution but also because of the immense faith reposed by the people in the system.”
“People are confident that they will get relief and justice from the judiciary. It gives them the strength to pursue a dispute. They know that when things go wrong, the judiciary will stand by them. The Indian Supreme Court is the guardian of the largest democracy,” he added.
Chief Justice Ramana had sent as a gift a copy of the Constitution to the students of class V, which he had signed as a gift. This goes on to show the amount of respect and value Justice Ramana has towards the constitution and that wants to make people aware of it and the rights and responsibilities the common people of India have.