Who is justice BV Nagarathna — the judge poised to become 1st woman CJI in 2027
Justice BV Nagarathna is poised to become India’s first woman Chief Justice of India in 2027.
Presently a judge in the Karnataka high court, justice Nagarathna is among the three women judges whose names were cleared by the Supreme Court collegium on Tuesday evening.
Justice Nagarathna started as a lawyer at Bengaluru and was appointed as an additional judge in the Karnataka HC in February 2008. She was made a permanent judge two years later.
Justice Nagarathna’s father, ES Venkataramiah, was the CJI for almost six months in 1989. If cleared by the Union government, justice Nagarathna will be the CJI for little over a month in 2027.
In November 2009, she, along with two other judges of the Karnataka HC were locked in a court room by a group of protesting lawyers but she braved the situation in a dignified manner. She later said: “We are not angry, but we are sad that the Bar has done this to us. We have to hang our heads in shame.”
In 2012, justice Nagarathna delivered a judgment emphasising on the need to regulate electronic media. “While truthful dissemination of information is an essential requirement of any broadcasting channel, sensationalism in the form of ‘Breaking News’, ‘Flash News’ or in any other form must be curbed,” she wrote in her judgment.
While urging the Union government to consider setting up an autonomous and statutory mechanism to regulate broadcast media, justice Nagarathna clarified that the concept of regulation should not be understood to mean control by the government or the powers that be.
In a 2019 judgment, she ruled that a temple is not a “commercial establishment” and hence, employees of a temple in Karnataka are not entitled to gratuity under Payments of Gratuity Act. She held that a temple employee will be entitled to gratuity benefits under the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act, which is a special law enacted in the state and not under the Payments of Gratuity Act.