After the NDA government refused to give the go-ahead to senior advocate Gopal Subramanium’s elevation as a Supreme Court judge, the top court’s collegium is likely to propose the name of senior advocate UU Lalit for judgeship.
Lalit had given his consent for judgeship before the court shut for summer vacations on May 12. However, the collegium had not forwarded his name to the government along with the four other names — chief justices Adarsh Goel and Arun Mishra, senior advocates Rohinton Nariman and Subramanium, SC sources said. The collegium was even keen to elevate another senior counsel LN Rao, now an additional solicitor general, who did not give his consent, they added.
Lalit, a reputed counsel in the SC, joined the bar in 1983 in Bombay. He has been practising in the top court since 1986 and was designated as a senior advocate in May 2004 by the Supreme Court.
Lalit, who is in his mid-50s, has the experience of fighting cases in favour of the government as well as against it. He even appeared for retired army chief and now minister General VK Singh in the age row matter before the SC. He also rendered assistance as a counsel to the committee looking into corruption allegations against then chief justice of Karnataka HC PD Dinakaran.
In April 2011, Lalit was chosen by the SC as a special public prosecutor in the 2G case before the trial court. He also represented cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in an accident case that resulted in a ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ FIR against the BJP leader.
Presently there are 25 sitting judges including the Chief Justice of India in the SC as against the sanctioned strength of 31. With the President clearing appointments of three persons — Justice Mishra, Justice Goel and Nariman — the strength would increase to 28. However, this year more vacancies are likely to arise as four judges — CJI RM Lodha, Justice BS Chauhan, Justice CK Prasad and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai — are due to retire.
With the retirement of Justice Chauhan, who is a part of SC collegium, on July 1, a re-constituted collegium is likely to proceed with Lalit’s appointment.