L. Nageswara Rao


13th May 2016 - 7th Jun 2022

Justice Nageswara Rao was born in 1957 in Chirala, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh. He did his B.Com., B.L., from Nagarjuna University, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, and subsequently enrolled as an Advocate on 29.07.1982 at Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh.

From 1982 to 1984, Justice Rao practiced at the District Court, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. He went on to practice in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad for about 9 years till 1994, after which he began practicing at the Supreme Court of India till May, 2016.

Justice Rao was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2000, and has served as Additional Solicitor General of India between 2003 and 2004; and again from 2013 to 2014.

Justice Rao appeared in Karnataka High Court for J. Jayalalita in the Disproportionate assets case and was successful in reversing the trial court Judgement and getting her acquitted.One of the last cases he argued before the Supreme Court of India was NEET case in which he appeared for State of Tamil Nadu and Christian Medical College.

He was also a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Mudgal Committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal and comprising senior advocate and former cricket umpire Nilay Dutta as the other member. The committee is tasked with conducting an independent inquiry into allegations of corruption, betting and spot-fixing in Indian Premier League matches.

Justice Rao was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 13.05.2016.

Notable Judgements

The Hon’ble Supreme Court ban on seeking votes over religion, race or caste in the case of Abhiram Singh v. C.D. Commachen held that “religion, race, caste, community or language would not be allowed to play any role in the electoral process.” Justice Rao was part of the majority opinion that ruled that “the Constitution forbids state from mixing religion with politics.” In the ratio of 5:3.

Justice Rao, along with Justice Dave also ruled in the case of Narendra v. K.Meena that a persistent effort of the wife to constraint her husband to be separated from the family constitutes an act of ‘cruelty’ to grant divorce.

Justice Rao was part of a 7- Judge Bench of the Supreme Court that held that re-promulgation of ordinances is unconstitutional. The Bench gave the verdict in this case while examining the validity of the Bihar ordinance which was re-promulgated seven times since 1989 by the state government to confer certain benefits on Sanskrit teachers. It was later allowed to expire. Though it was talking about a state ordinance, this judgment will be binding on ordinances promulgated by the president as well.


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