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Justice Nageswara Rao sacrificed a lucrative legal practice to become a Judge: CJI Ramana

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The Judges and the Bar members gathered together in the court of Chief Justice of India (CJI) where they bid fond farewell to the Supreme Court judge Justice Nageswara Rao who will retire on June 7, during the court vacation.

Justice Nageswara Rao enrolled in the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh in 1982 and practised in the Andhra Pradesh District courts (1982-1984), Andhra Pradesh High Court (1985-1994) and the Supreme Court (1995-2016).

In 2000, he was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He served two terms as Additional Solicitor General of India (2003-2004 and 2013-2014).

On May 13th 2016, he became the seventh person elevated directly from the Bar to the Supreme Court.

Justice Rao defended J. Jayalalitha in the Disproportionate Assets case before the Karnataka High Court. He also appeared for the state of Tamil Nadu and Christian Medical College in the NEET case before the Supreme Court.

He served on the three-member Supreme Court-appointed Mudgal Committee to conduct an independent inquiry into allegations of corruption and unfair means in the Indian Premier League cricket matches.

CJI Ramana said that as Justice Nageswara Rao demits office and he is reminded of him as a first generation lawyer who sacrificed a lucrative legal practice to become a judge who was very popular among lawyers

Attorney General KK Venugopal speaking over the retirement of Justice L Nageswara Rao said that we are loosing a very good judge and a cricketer. He has given a large number of very very important judgements.

We wish him great future, we hope that he’ll be with us in various capacities, AG Venugopal added.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that as soon as your Lordships accepted the elevation I lost a very favourite counsel whom I used to brief.

Vice President, SCBA, Senior Advocate Pradeep Rai said that “Milord we should look out for something so that we can keep on interacting, as soon as you went on the other side we thought you are not very happy as you were missing us.”

Sr Adv Aman Lekhi said that Justice Rao had all the attributes of a perfect judge.

Justice L Nageswara Rao during his speech said ” I am not very sure I deserve all these accolades. I had told the then Justice Ranjan Gogoi that I still think as a lawyer and Justice Gogoi had asked me to think the same way

He further said, he hopes to have lived upto the expectations, hopes to have been fair and apologised for being harsh. He said that sometimes pressure of work get on us since we are not monks. He also said that at times he has raised his voice to drown the voice of the lawyer. But one side has to win.

On last day of sitting in the Supreme Court bench as a judge, Justice L Nageshwar Rao said after more than 6 yrs as a Judge, “I still feel that side (as a lawyer) is better than this side (as a Judge)”.

Justice Rao said he always thought like a lawyer even when he was a judge. He said he once had told Justice Gogoi this and the later replied – “continue doing that as it would help understand lawyers better.”

Justice Rao retires on June 7. The Supreme Court goes into summer break from tomorrow.

The retirements of the  topmost rung of the judiciary in 2022 would encompass changes in the powerful Supreme Court Collegium as the retirements are coming in the time when the court is in the process of steadying itself after covid and the country going through a sea of change and the court still to grappling with pendencies.

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