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CJI Lalit passes baton to Justice Chandrachud, concludes journey of 37 yrs in SC

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The Supreme Court of India on Monday, 7 November, live stream the proceedings of the ceremonial bench headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as it was his last working day.

CJI Lalit superannuates on 8 November, which is a holiday due to Guru Nanak Jayanti. The 49th Chief Justice of India on Monday said that he is leaving ‘with a sense of accomplishment, accompanied by a feeling of satisfaction. 

Interestingly, CJI Lalit mentioned that his journey with the apex court began while YV Chandrachud was the Chief Justice of India and now he would be leaving handing over the charges to the former’s son Justice DY Chandrachud

“My journey in this court began in Court 1. I came here to mention a case I was appearing in before CJI YV Chandrachud. My journey now ends here, where I am passing on the baton to Justice DY Chandrachud.”

My journey began from this court and today it ends in the same court. The person before whom I mentioned the matter, he passed on the baton to subsequent Chief Justices.

“I now pass the baton to a very distinguished person and the son of that man himself. It is a beautiful occasion for me and I couldn’t have asked for anything greater than that,” CJI Lalit said.

The ceremonial bench assembled in the post-lunch session of the top court at 2 pm. The bench comprised Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Bela M Trivedi as well. 

CJI Lalit also mentioned that while he was in charge the apex court saw three Constitutional benches hearing cases at the same time. 

“I have practised here for 37 years. But I have never seen two Constitution benches sitting simultaneously. But under my tenure, on a particular day, three Constitutional benches were hearing matters at the same time,” the CJI said.

According to LiveLaw, CJI Lalit said that while taking oath he had promised to try to have one Constitution Bench functioning throughout the year. “Every SC judge must have equal opportunity to be a part of a Constitution Bench,” he added.

For the first time since its inception, the Supreme Court had on August 26 live streamed proceedings of the ceremonial bench of then CJI N V Ramana, which was his last working day in the top court.

Justice DY Chandrachud will be sworn-in as the CJI on Tuesday, 9 November.

Speaking at the ceremonial bench hearing, CJI-designate Chadrachud said his predecessor was one of the few people who were called to the Bench directly from the Bar. Promising that there would be a sense of continuity, the CJI-designate said, “His reforms will indeed stand the test of time. His sobriety has added dignity to the office. Thank you.”

Additional solicitor general SV Raju said it was a pleasure to argue before him. “Even if the order was adverse, we did not feel any wrong was done,” he said.

Speaking on the CJI’s brief tenure, senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta said, “Your Lordship has shown that short is beautiful. You have shown what is the majesty of court. Justice was not only done but seen to be done under you.”

The first case before the Bench is a transfer petition arising out of a domestic violence complaint. Counsel says, “I am deeply obliged and honoured to be the lawyer opening this bench today.”

After clearing the Board, CJI Lalit says “That was all the cases before me.” Following this he was gifted a signed memorabilia by the members of the Supreme Court Bar Association. 

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