Hon'ble Chief Justice of India (Retd.)
Ramesh Chandra Lahoti
|35th Chief Justice of India|
1 June 2004 – 31 October 2005
|Appointed by||A. P. J. Abdul Kalam|
|Preceded by||S. Rajendra Babu|
|Succeeded by||Y. K. Sabharwal|
|Born||1 November 1940|
Guna, Madhya Pradesh, British Raj
|Died||March 23, 2022 (aged 81)|
New Delhi, India
He joined the Bar in Guna district in 1960 and enrolled as an advocate in 1962. In April 1977, he was recruited directly from the Bar to the State Higher Judicial Service and was appointed a District & Sessions Judge. After functioning as a District & Sessions Judge for a year, he resigned in May 1978 and reverted to the Bar for practice mainly in the High Court. He was appointed the Additional Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on 3 May 1988 and made permanent Judge on 4 August 1989. Lahoti was transferred to Delhi High Court on 7 February 1994. He was appointed a Judge of Supreme Court of India on 9 December 1998. He retired on his 65th birthday giving him a term of 17 months. His predecessor had a term of just 1 month.
Justice Lahoti, a noted jurist, was economic with words and probably the least vocal among recent Chief Justices. He served one of the longest terms as Chief Justice in recent years, retiring from office after 17 months.
In November 2004, Chief Justice Lahoti, broke ground with many of his predecessors who had expressed concern about the growing corruption within the judiciary, by proclaiming that the judiciary in India was 'clean'. This was an astounding statement, especially in the light of frequent exposés in the media about errant judges across the country.
Chief Justice's handling of judicial transfers has also attracted controversy. In February 2005, Chief Justice BK Roy was transferred from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Guwahati High Court, on Chief Justice Lahoti's watch.
Justice Lahoti upheld a Haryana law that did not allow those with more than two children to contest local body elections. He rejected arguments based on right to privacy and religion.