Justice N.V. Ramana, in the recent verdict on the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, has ruled on two crucial aspects – access to internet and imposition of Section 144 – having significance beyond the borders of the erstwhile state.
Justice Ramana, who was also a journalist for a brief period, introduced the verdict with few lines from the famous classic novel by Charles Dickens – ”A Tale of Two Cities” – and then delved into the crucial balance between liberty and security. He was calm and composed while reading out the verdict, which had many eager to see the court”s stand on this government decision. Especially, in the backdrop, where petitioners claimed that the restrictions paralysed seven million lives in the region.
In the verdict, Justice Ramana, the seniormost judge after the Chief Justice, recognised in the context of contemporary perspective, where overwhelming majority of Indian citizens use the internet as a tool to exercise freedom of speech and expression and also to carry out business to support their families, the authorities concerned cannot impose indefinite restrictions.
Justice Ramana also digs a little deeper into the relationship of the internet with other basic services, and indicated the internet as a modern wonder deeply connected with globalisation.
Justice Ramana was born in an agricultural family on August 27, 1957 in Ponnavaram Village, Krishna District. He enrolled as an advocate on February 10, 1983. He has practiced in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Central and Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunals. He has vast experience in cases connected with civil, criminal, constitutional, labour, service and election matters. He specialized in constitutional, criminal, service and inter-state river laws.
Justice Ramana was elevated as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in September 2013, and then elevated as a Supreme Court judge in February 2014.
Justice Ramana also headed the bench which upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JDS MLAs in Karnataka, but allowed them to contest the bypolls on December 5. The bench observed that the political parties are indulging in horse trading and corrupt practices, due to which the citizens are denied stable governments. And, in the backdrop of such corrupt practices, Parliament should reconsider “strengthening certain aspects of the Tenth Schedule, so that such undemocratic practices are discouraged.”
Justice Ramana is also heading a five-judge bench examining the constitutional validity of the revocation of provisions of the Article 370. This is another crucial matter, as the opposition has vehemently criticised the Centre”s decision. This article gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Justice Ramana has also functioned as Panel Counsel for various government organisations. He has functioned as Additional Standing Counsel for Central Government and Standing Counsel for Railways in the Central Administrative Tribunal at Hyderabad. He has also been Additional Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh. He was appointed as a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27, 2000.