Manepalli Narayanarao Venkatachaliah: Former Chief Justice of India

Justice Manepalli Narayanarao Venkatachaliah was born on October 25th, 1929. He is an Indian lawyer who subsequently became a judge. He served as CJI for more than a year. Justice Venkatachaliah authored 90 decisions and was a part of 482 benches in his Supreme Court career. He was preceded by Justice L.M. Sharma and succeeded by Justice A.M. Ahmadi.

Early Life and Education

He was raised in a well-known Hindu family. He graduated from the University of Mysore with a Bachelor of Science and the University of Bangalore with a Bachelor of Laws.


Justice Sam Piroj Bharucha began his legal career during the following time period −

  • He began his legal career in 1951.

  • On November 6, 1975, he was named a Permanent Judge of the High Court of Karnataka.

  • On October 5, 1987, he was appointed to the position of Judge of the Indian Supreme Court.

  • On 12 February 1993, he finally was appointed the 25th Chief Justice of India and on 24 October 1994, he retired.


Name Manepalli Narayanarao Venkatachaliah
Date of Birth 25th October 1929
Alma Matar University of Bangalore
Official Tenure 12th February, 1993 – 24th October, 1994
President Shankar Dayal Sharma
Preceded L.M. Sharma
Succeeded A.M. Ahmadi

As Judge

Permanent Judge of the Karnataka High Court

Judge of the Supreme Court

Chief Justice of India

Notable Judgement

The notable judgments are −

Sheela Barse vs. Union of India (JT 1986 136, 1986 SCALE (2)230)

In the current instance, the court acknowledged receipt of a letter from the activist Sheela Barse and considered it as a public interest lawsuit brought to draw attention to the flagrant violations of children's fundamental rights in institutions that hold them in custody. A Supreme Court Legal Assistance Committee was established by Judge Venkatachaliah. He concluded that the West Bengal government was "unable to completely and effectively assist the court" and immediately constituted the Commission to look into the matter.

Ismail Faruqui vs. Union of India (AIR 1995 SC 605)

The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya (ACAA) Act, 1993's legality was contested in the current case, which Justice Venkatachaliah served on as one of the five judges on the five-judge panel. By this Act, 67.7 acres of land near the Babri Mosque had been purchased by the government. The court upheld this land purchase because it was a measure adopted to quell communal unrest and hence could not have been a non-secular conduct. This ruling also said that Muslims might perform namaz anywhere and that going to a mosque was not a requirement for practising Islam.

Union Carbide Corporation vs. Union of India. (1990 AIR 273, 1989 SCC (2) 540)

Several lawsuits were brought against the Union Carbide Company (UCC) in India and the United States as a result of the Bhopal Gas Leak catastrophe. The Supreme Court dismissed all civil and criminal proceedings in February 1989 after approving a complete and final settlement of $470 million that the UCC was required to pay to the Union of India. The victims, survivors, their allies, and activists reacted angrily to this choice with a large-scale demonstration. In order to challenge the settlement order, the Supreme Court opened review procedures.

The ruling in this case was written by Judge Venkatachaliah for the Constitutional Bench. According to Article 142 of the Constitution, which authorised the court to go beyond the plea and render "full justice," the settlement decision was sustained, providing justification for it. The criminal investigation, however, was reopened.

Joginder Kumar vs. State of UP (1994 AIR 1349, 1994 SCC (4) 260)

The "guidelines for arrest" case established uniform grounds for arresting someone for the first time. According to Judge Venkatachaliah, it would be an abuse of authority for police to make an arrest. He said that every arrest must be supported by reasonable conviction following an inquiry, and the officer must be able to provide good cause for the arrest or detention. No one's freedom could be taken away based just on "suspicion". Moreover, according to Judge Venkatachaliah, Articles 21 and 22(1) explicitly grant those who have been arrested the right to notify a person of their arrest and seek legal counsel.

Post Retirement

He kept up his advocacy for human rights and anti-corruption causes when he retired. He presided over India's National Human Rights Commission from 26 November 1996 until 24 October 1999. He served as the chairman of the National Commission to Study the Constitution's Workings in 2000.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Who had appointed Justice Venkatachaliah as the Chief Justice of India?

Ans. The former President Shankar Dayal Sharma had appointed justice Venkatachaliah as the chief justice of India.

Q2. What is judicial review in the Indian Constitution?

Ans. In India, executive or legislative decisions are subject to judicial scrutiny by the Supreme Court. They have the authority to annul any amendments, laws, acts, or governmental activities that conflict with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.

Q3. What is judicial review in law?

Ans. According to the judicial review doctrine, the courts have the power to assess the legality of actions taken by the executive and legislative arms of the government.

Updated on: 13-Apr-2023


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