Former Chief Justice of India R C Lahoti Dies at 81; PM Modi, Law Minister Rijiju and Others Condole Demise


Former Chief Justice of India Ramesh Chandra Lahoti died at a hospital here on Wednesday evening, family sources said. He was 81 years old. Justice Lahoti was appointed as the 35th chief justice of India on June 1, 2004. He retired on November 1, 2005. He was a former independent director on the board of directors of the Press Trust of India.

He was appointed as arbitrator by the Government of India in the Rs 20,000 crore high-profile tax dispute case with telecom major Vodafone. Born on November 1, 1940, he joined the Bar in Guna district in 1960 and enrolled as an advocate in 1962. He was recruited directly to the bench in April 1977, from the Bar to the State Higher Judicial Service and was appointed as a district and sessions judge.

After serving in the post for a year, Justice Lahoti resigned in May 1978 and returned to the Bar to practice mainly in the High Court. He was appointed an additional judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on May 3, 1988, and made a permanent judge on August 4 the next year. He was transferred to Delhi High Court on February 7, 1994, and later appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court on December 9, 1998.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences. “Anguished by the passing away of former CJI Shri RC Lahoti Ji. He will be remembered for his contributions to the judiciary and emphasis on ensuring speedy justice to the underprivileged. Condolences to his family and well-wishers. Om Shanti,” he said in a tweet.

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju condoled the death of Justice Lahoti. “Saddened to hear the passing away of Shri RC Lahoti, former Chief Justice of India. He rose from a humble background and reached the highest position of our country’s judiciary because of his ability, knowledge and wisdom,” he tweeted.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his predecessor Kamal Nath of Congress and other leaders on Wednesday condoled the death of Lahoti. Chouhan termed the ex-CJI’s death as irreparable loss to his family members.

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