Secular lie exposed; Uday Lalit never appeared for Amit Shah.

published on July 13, 2014
NEW DELHI: Senior advocate Uday Umesh Lalit, whose name has been recommended for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court by the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India, had never had Amit Shah as his client in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

As an ace criminal lawyer, he was sought after by high profile people facing prosecution. But he had never appeared for Amit Shah, now BJP president and a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was veteran Ram Jethmalani who had argued for Shah in the Supreme Court.

Though it is widely reported that Shah was once represented by him, Lalit chose to keep his lips sealed and quietly went off to Guwahati to attend the convocation at the IIT from where one of his son is graduating.

The unsavoury controversy preceding the dropping of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium’s name from the zone of consideration for judgeship in Supreme Court and the intense media glare had a silencing effect on Lalit. He chose to keep silent than get into the explaining mode. Probably, he has been told to keep a low profile till the recommendations were accepted by the government and President made the appointments.

Along with Lalit’s name, the collegium had also recommended names of three chief justices of high courts – Justices Prafull Chandra Pant, Abhay Manohar Sapre and R Banumathi – to the Union government for appointment as judges of the apex court.

The Collegium’s recommendation is expected to sail through the Executive and would soon be placed before the President for his clearance leading to issuance of warrants of appointment.

Lalit’s penchant for practising criminal law probably came from his father U R Lalit, who too practised in the Supreme Court. The senior Lalit was an additional judge in the Delhi High Court when the emergency was clamped on the citizens. But he was among those few bold high court judges who purely went by law and defied the political pressure to keep granting bail to under-trial prisoners, with whom the jails were packed at that time. Predictably, the senior Lalit was not confirmed by the Indira Gandhi regime as a judge of the HC.

If the Centre concurs with the collegium’s recommendation to appoint Uday U lalit, which is likely by next week, then he would be the sixth person to be appointed directly from the bar to the bench in the Supreme Court.

S M Sikri was the first advocate to be directly elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court in 1964. He went on to become the Chief Justice of India on January 22, 1971 and retired on April 25, 1973. Till date, he remains the only one among the advocates-appointed-judges to become the CJI.

Other senior advocates who became Judges of the Supreme Court are – S C Roy, Kuldip Singh and N Santosh Hegde. The last among the list is R F Nariman, who took oath as Judge of SC on July 7.

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