Justice BV Nagarathna will become the first woman Chief Justice of India, following in the footsteps of her father, Justice ES Venkataramiah, who also served as Chief Justice of India.
She studied at Sophia High School till 10th standard and thereafter at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan's Mehta Vidyalay in New Delhi. She pursued law at the Campus Law Centre, New Delhi, after completing her History Honours programme at Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University.
In 1987, she started her practice at KESVY and Co under her seniors, Barrister Vasudev Reddy and Senior Advocate GV Shantharaju. KESVY and Co was also the chamber of her father and Justice Rajendra Babu, both of whom served as CJIs.
Justice Nagarathna went on to practice independently in areas such as arbitration, land acquisition, service law, family law, administrative law, constitutional law and commercial law before trial courts, High Courts and the Supreme Court.
She served as Amicus in cases including the lakes' rejuvenation in Bangalore. On February 18, 2008, she was appointed additional judge of the Karnataka High Court and on February 17, 2010, she was made a permanent judge. The Supreme Court Collegium on August 17, 2021, approved her elevation to the top court, paving the way for her appointment as the first woman CJI.
The central government green-lit her appointment as SC judge but her tenure will only be 36 days.
Justice BV Nagarathna becomes one of only three women elevated to the SC in the latest round of appointments.
Among her many notable judgments are: Section 5 of the Limitation Act does not apply to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013; striking down the rule mandating that 85% of the packaging of a tobacco product must display pictorial health warnings; there are no illegitimate children and the law should recognize them and confer them equal protection and rights; a temple is not a commercial establishment etc.
She has further served as Chairperson of the Committee Overseeing Commercial Court, Chairperson of the Juvenile Justice Committee and Chairperson of the Committee overseeing the implementation of the POCSO Act.
Married to BN Gopala Krishna, the couple have two daughters - Nayantara BG, who is an advocate, and Prerna BG.