B. V. Nagarathna is an Indian lawyer who was elevated to the position of Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 26 August 2021.
Bangalore Venkataramiah Nagarathna Supreme Court of India’s Press Release was born on Tuesday, 30 October 1962 (age 60 years; as of 2022), and she hails from Engalaguppe Chatra, Pandavapura in Mandya district, Karnataka. Deccan Herald Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. Till 10th standard, she attended Sophia High School, Bengaluru. Thereafter, she completed her schooling at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Mehta Vidyalaya, New Delhi. She cherished the village life during her childhood when she visited her paternal family home in Engalaguppe Chatra.
Later, she enrolled herself in Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history. Legal Era Thereafter, she pursued LLB at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. The Hindu After completing her formal education, she returned to her hometown, Bengaluru; meanwhile, his father served as the Chief Justice of India in New Delhi.
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Salt & Pepper
Parents & Siblings
B. V. Nagarathna’s father, E.S. Venkataramiah, served as the 19th Chief Justice of India. Her mother’s name is Padma Venkataramiah.
Husband & Children
B. V. Nagarathna’s husband’s name is B.N. Gopala Krishna. Together, they have two daughters, Nayantara BG, who works as an advocate, and Prerna BG.
On 28 October 1987, B. V. Nagarathna enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Karnataka in Bangalore (now Bengaluru). In the same year, she began her career as a lawyer when she joined KESVY and Co., a firm that provides legal services in Bengaluru, under the guidance of Barrister Vasudev Reddy and Senior Advocate G.V. Shantharaju. From 1994 to 2008, she was an independent practising lawyer, who took up cases in various fields like arbitration, land acquisition, service law, family law, administrative law, constitutional law, commercial law, etc. Nagarathna has also provided her services as an amicus, and while serving as an amicus in Bangalore, she actively worked for the rejuvenation of various lakes in the city; an amicus is someone who provides legal aid to a court. Furthermore, she has served as the chairperson of various committees including the committee overseeing commercial court, Juvenile Justice Committee, and the committee overseeing the implementation of the POCSO Act.
Judge of Karnataka High Court
B. V. Nagarathna was appointed as an additional judge of the High Court of Karnataka on 18 February 2008. On 17 February 2010, she was elevated as a permanent judge of the High Court of Karnataka. She was nominated to serve as a judge by the former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, and she was appointed by the former President of India Pratibha Patil. She served as a judge of the Karnataka High Court till 30 August 2021.
Judge of the Supreme Court of India
In August 2021, a prominent decision was taken by the collegium headed by CJI N. V. Ramana, who recommend the names of three women for the appointment of judges of the Supreme court of India, including Justice B V Nagarathna. It was a historic decision because B. V. Nagarathna was likely to head the judiciary in 2027, which would make her the first women Chief Justice of India. The Indian Express On 31 August 2021, B. V. Nagarathna, along with eight other judges, took the oath of office to the Supreme Court of India. She was nominated for the position by N. V. Ramana and appointed by Ram Nath Kovind.
For the first time in Indian history, nine new Supreme Court judges take oath in one go. With three women, Justice B. V. Nagarathna, Justice Bela M Trivedi, and Justice Hima Kohli, administering the oath of office, the apex court obtained four sitting women judges, beating the previous high of three sitting women judges. After she was appointed a judge of the apex court, she was invited as chief guest at the inaugural function of the child care centre at the City Civil Court Complex in Bengaluru. The creche facility was established to benefit the children of advocates and staff of the court. Nagarathna approved the first of its kind facility in a court complex when she was the administrative judge of City Civil Court Bangalore.
- Noting the rise of sensationalist news, in 2012, Nagarathna ordered the federal government to consider the possibility of regulation of broadcast media in India through a statutory framework.
- Sri Jagadev Biradar vs State of Karnataka (2016): A division bench comprising of Justice B.V. Nagarathna dismissed the Karnataka government’s appeal, which questioned the verdict of nullifying the Motor Vehicles Taxation (Amendment) Act, introduced in 2014. The court held that the state government could not compel the owners of non-Karnataka vehicles to pay a lifetime tax to use their vehicles in Karnataka beyond 30 days, citing that the state’s law was violative of Article 246(3). However, the order reaffirmed that owners of non-Karnataka vehicles would have to re-register their vehicle in Karnataka, along with requisite lifetime tax, if such vehicles were used beyond 12 months in the state.
- The Tobacco Institute of India vs Union of India (2017): The Karnataka High Court quashed the 2014 amendment rule that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85% of packaging of a tobacco product, citing that they violated the constitutional norms. Earlier, the warning rule was notified by the Union Health Ministry. A division bench comprising B V Nagarathna held that the Union Health Ministry did not possess the jurisdictional power to make such amendments. However, the court declared that the 40% pictorial health warning rule, which existed prior to the amendment rules, would remain in force.
- Sri Mookambika Temple vs Mr. Raviraja Shetty (2018): A three-judge bench headed by Justice B V Nagarathna held that temples were not commercial establishments; hence, its employees were not entitled to gratuity under the Payments of Gratuity (PG) Act, 1972. The bench made this observation citing provisions of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments (KS&CE) Act, 1961, which does not include Hindu religious institutions.
- In 2020, the High Court of Karnataka upheld the state government’s decision directing both State-governed and privately managed universities to adopt a uniform method to promote students of intermediate semesters of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The policy was introduced to ensure the elimination of any difficulty in the future career progression of students on account of different methods being adopted by the universities.
- In 2021, a division bench headed by Justice BV Nagarathna overruled a circular issued by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL), which mentioned that an employee’s second wife or her children were not eligible for compassionate grounds appointment if the marriage had taken place during the subsistence of first marriage. Conferring such children with equal protection and rights, the court stated,
We add that no child is born in this world without a father and a mother. A child has no role to play in his/her birth. Hence, law should recognise the fact that there may be illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children.”
- On 2 January 2022, the five-member Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India upheld the demonetisation move by the Government of India with a 4:1 majority, closing doors for any future legal challenge to the decision. However, justice BV Nagarathna differed from the majority order and observed that the demonetisation move by the central government was “unlawful.” She said,
Records show no independent application of mind by RBI. Notification of Nov 8, 2018, is unlawful and action of demonetisation of currency notes is vitiated.” The Indian Express
In 2009, B. V. Nagarathna, Karnataka high court chief justice PD Dinakaran, and a senior judge were detained in Karnataka High Court by a group of protesting lawyers. The advocates were angry as they noticed that despite a call to boycott all proceedings in the courts across the state, Dinakaran was attending hearings. Following allegations of corruption, accumulation of assets, and serious irregularities while disposing of cases against P.D. Dinakaran, The Advocates Association of Bangalore had declared a boycott of courts in Karnataka. It was reported that Nagarathna was manhandled; meanwhile, Dinakaran had a sharp object thrown at him, causing an injury. DNA Following the incident, while addressing the public, Nagarathna said,
We cannot be cowed down like this. We have taken the oath of Constitution”
- In November 2013, Justice N Kumar and Justice B V Nagarathna visited the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation unit at Kudlu near Bommanahalli to come up with a realistic approach to dispose of waste.
- She was due to retire on 29 October 2024, until she got elevated to the Supreme Court as all SC judges get a three-year extension.
- During her heartfelt farewell speech at the Karnataka High Court, Justice Nagarathna motivated women to trust themselves and stride ahead. She said,
The message from this leaf in my book which I want women advocates to take note of is, that with access to the right opportunities, each one of you can achieve your dreams. I, therefore, urge each one of you to seek out these opportunities armed with faith in yourself and stride ahead to achieve all that you want to and also give back to society.”