‘Inconsequential’, says ex-CJI Lalit on appearing for Amit Shah

The recently resigned Chief Justice of India, Uday Umesh Lalit, said that although he had appeared in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case on behalf of Home Minister Amit Shah, it was “inconsequential” because he was never the principal attorney.

“It is true that I appeared for Amit Shah, but it was irrelevant as the principal lawyer was Justice Ram Jethmalani,” Justice Lalit was quoted by NDTV.

In an interview with the news organisation, on Sunday, Justice Lalit further emphasised that while he was initially invited to defend Amit Shah in April, while the previous administration was still in office, the government changed in May 2014.

MS Education Academy

“The process started way before the regime changed,” he said.

“I was briefed in the matter, but never a lead counsel. I appeared for Shah’s co-accused but not in the main case but in a secondary case,” he added.

Justice Lalit represented clients in a number of high-profile and contentious matters before being elevated to the position of judge in August 2014. In the alleged false encounter executions of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat, he represented an accused alongside Home Minister Amit Shah’s side.

When Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s administration was charged with covering up the alleged fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi, and associate Tulsiram Prajapati, UU Lalit represented Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah in the case.

What went down before UU Lalit’s appointment as judge:

After the newly elected BJP administration led by PM Modi in 2014 rejected the former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium’s proposal for a judgeship, Justice Lalit’s elevation had come under question. Subramanium’s name was apparently brought back for reconsideration by the BJP-led government, and Lalit was reportedly selected as his successor as a Supreme Court judge.

Then, Subramanium claimed that he was being singled out for being “independent and honest” in his capacity as a court assistant in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.

Then-CJI RM Lodha had publicly stated that the BJP-led government had “segregated” Subramanium’s file “unilaterally” and without his knowledge or consent, which was an unprecedented action.

After Justice RF Nariman, who was also a former Solicitor General, Justice Lalit was the second person to be appointed to the Supreme Court straight out of law school in almost two decades.

Back to top button