Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana is an Indian judge who was appointed by President Ram Nath Kovind to be the 48th and acting Chief Justice of India. He was formerly a Judge of the Supreme Court of India, the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, and the former Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He was born on August 27, 1957, in Ponnavaram village, Andhra Pradesh, to a Telugu-speaking agrarian family. During The Emergency in 1975, he fought for human rights as a student activist, losing an academic year in the process.
Ramana worked as a journalist for a major Telugu newspaper for a short period before becoming an experienced lawyer. He became an advocate in 1983 and practiced in legal, political, criminal, labor, service, and election-related matters in the Central and Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunals, Andhra Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court of India.
He has also served as Panel Counsel for a number of government agencies. In the Central Administrative Tribunal in Hyderabad, he served as Additional Standing Counsel for the Central Government and Standing Counsel for Railways. He has also served as Andhra Pradesh’s Additional Advocate General. He was appointed as a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27, 2000, and he held that role until 2013 when he served as the acting chief justice for two months. He was named Chief Justice of Delhi before being promoted to the Supreme Court that year.
Justice Ramana served on the Supreme Court for several years, the most notable of which was ending a year-long internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir in 2020, after the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, in August 2019. According to an ANI article, Justice Ramana lifted the indefinite internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir, citing that it was not only a breach of telecom laws but also of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech and expression. In another landmark decision, Justice Ramana had taken the office of the Chief Justice of India under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which was a big step forward for transparency.
Furthermore, he also ruled for holding a floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, laying the groundwork to cease ‘horse trading’ during the 2019 Maharashtra political emergency, when the Shiv Sena, the BJP, the National Congress Party, and others were endeavoring to establish a state government. A constitution bench led by him also dismissed the convicts’ remedial pleas in the December 2012 gang rape and murder case, paving the way for capital punishment.