New Delhi: A day before he took oath as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice U U Lalit laid down broad contours on his properties as CJI, showing his willingness to accelerate the wheels of justice in the Supreme Court saying that he would work on the listing of cases before the constitution benches and matters specially referred to the three-judge benches.
Though Justice Lalit started on a high note, he will have a herculean task to undertake in a 74-day tenure from the appointment of judges to resuming proceedings on cases raising key constitutional questions.
He has a century-old legacy, his father and grandfather were lawyers, to draw inspiration from to tackle some of the most far-reaching cases, which challenge the constitutional validity of key government decisions – abrogation of Article 370, and amendment to the Citizenship Act, among others.
Justice Lalit plans to begin with listing constitutional bench cases after a long hiatus, and also to address daily squabbles between lawyers and registry, as he plans to come out with a regime for free mentioning of urgent cases before the concerned benches.
At CJI N V Ramana's farewell on Friday, Justice Lalit said, “I have always believed that the role of the Supreme Court is to lay down the law with clarity. The best way to do it is having larger benches so that issues get clarified immediately so that there is consistency and people are well aware of what are contours of peculiar positions of law.”
A tearful senior advocate Dushyant Dave bidding farewell to Ramana, in the presence of justice Lalit, said he was very satisfied that Justice Ramana was leaving this court in the great hands of justice U U Lalit and the judges who were to follow.
Justice Lalit's grandfather Ranganath Lalit was a lawyer in Solapur much before India's independence, and his 90-year-old father, Umesh Ranganath Lalit, was an additional judge in the Delhi High Court when then Indira Gandhi government imposed an emergency in 1975.
He defied political pressure to grant bail to undertrial political prisoners and as a result, he was not confirmed as a high court judge.
Both father and son specialised in criminal law, and they both also practiced in the apex court.