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Justice R M Lodha sworn in as 41st CJI

April 27, 2014 13:43 IST

Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, was on Sunday sworn in as the 41st Chief Justice of India by President Pranab Mukherjee.

64-year-old Justice Lodha took over from Justice (retd) P Sathasivam who demitted office on Saturday after nine months as the head of the judiciary.

The brief ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan's Durbar Hall attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, some Union ministers, retired and serving judges, members of the Bar, besides Justice Sathasivam.

No opposition leader was present at the function.

Justice Lodha, who took oath in the name of god, will have a brief tenure of five months as CJI and is due to retire on September 27, this year.

He is heading the bench which is monitoring CBI's probe into coal blocks allocation scam. He was also instrumental in passing orders making CBI free from any political interference. A bench headed by him had said that CBI does not require sanction from the government to prosecute senior officials in cases being monitored by courts.

It was Justice Lodha's bench which had ordered that CBI will not share information with the political executive on coal-gate probe. The judgement had led to the resignation of Ashwani Kumar as the Law Minister in May last year.

He also is part of a Constitution Bench looking into the mode of education of minority schools.

Last month, a bench headed by him had allowed defence personnel in "peace stations" to vote in constituencies where they are posted, saying "compulsions of their job" shouldn't come in the way of a basic right.

Another bench headed by him had stopped clinical trials in the country, saying the interests of the people were more important than those of pharmaceutical companies.

Later, the government framed rules for monitoring of clinical trials and for paying compensation to people affected in the process.

Born in Jodhpur, Justice Lodha enrolled with the Bar Council of Rajasthan in February 1973.

He practised law in the Rajasthan High Court and dealt with all branches of law -- constitutional, civil, company, criminal, taxation and labour.

He was elevated as a Permanent Judge of the Rajasthan High Court in January 1994 and was transferred to the Bombay High Court where he assumed office in February 1994.

Justice Lodha was transferred back to the Rajasthan High Court in February 2007. He had been the Administrative Judge of the Rajasthan High Court and was chairman of the State Judicial Academy.

He was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court on May 13, 2008 and elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court on December 17, 2008.

Justice Lodha's name was recommended for the office of CJI by Justice Sathasivam.


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