Ex Chief Justice UU Lalit On Sohrabuddin Sheikh Encounter Case


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

New Delhi:

Recently retired Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit today said he had appeared for Home Minister Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, but it was “inconsequential” as he was never the lead counsel. 

Responding to a question by NDTV, he said, “It is true that I appeared for Amit Shah, but it was inconsequential as the lead counsel was Mr Ram Jethmalani.”

Justice Lalit also pointed out that the government changed in May 2014, while he was asked for the first time to represent Mr Shah in April while the earlier regime was still in power. 

“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.

Before his elevation as a judge in August 2014, Justice Lalit was a lawyer in several high-profile and controversial cases. He represented Amit Shah in the alleged fake encounter killings case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat.

UU Lalit was then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah’s lawyer in the case when Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s government was accused of covering up alleged fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi, and associate Tulsiram Prajapati. 

Jutice Lalit’s elevation as a judge had come under scrutiny after the newly formed BJP government under PM Modi in 2014 sent back the recommendation of former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium for judgeship. Mr Lalit was reportedly appointed as a Supreme Court judge as a replacement for Mr Subramanium, whose name was sent back by the BJP led government for reconsideration.

Mr Subramanium had then alleged that he was being targeted for displaying “independence and integrity” for his role in assisting the court in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.

In an unprecedented move, then CJI RM Lodha had on record said that the BJP-led government had “segregated” Mr Subramanium’s file “unilaterally” and without his knowledge and consent.

Justice Lalit was the second person after Justice RF Nariman, also a former Solicitor General, to become a Supreme Court judge directly from the bar in close to two decades.

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