his story

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Despite being one of the most highly regarded Chief Justices and Jurists in India, his modesty and humble character deeply touched my heart.
— Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus

an extraordinary life

Jagdish Sharan Verma was born in 1933 in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. He was one of 7 brothers and 3 sisters.

He completed his early education in Venkat High School, and Government Jubilee Inter College, Lucknow.

He read for his BSc and LLB at Allahabad University, where was a keen cricketer.

He began his legal career in the Satna District Court in 1955.

joining the fraternity

He was appointed Judge, Madhya Pradesh High Court in 1972. He quickly made his mark through a landmark judgment in 1973 ordering juveniles to be tried in separate procedures to adults. This judgment formed the basis for the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986.


He was one of the earliest judges to fight back against The Emergency, rubbishing the Governments claim that the Emergency took precedence over rights to life and liberty.


He stood out as one of the few High Court judges that released detainees arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act.

Justice Verma was one of the first judges to release detainees arrested under MISA
— The Hindu

he became Chief Justice, MAdhya Pradesh in june 1985

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At the apex


His reputation as a fearless judge continued to grow as he delivered his One Man Enquiry into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.


His integrity was renowned throughout Dehli's corridors.

He has strong views on judicial ethics; for him it’s not so much an intellectual concept as an obsession
— India Today

It was in Delhi in 3 Janpath Road that he became a grandfather.



Justice Verma served as the Chariman, National Human Rights Commission between 1999 and 2003.


He gave advice on issues of national importance to the Government, Defence services and Civil Society.


He was a crucial proponent and member of the team to implement RTI Act in 2005.


He spent much of his time giving lectures in schools and colleges around the country, trying to engage with and inspire the hearts and minds of tomorrow.


He was the first Chariman of the News Broadcasters Association.

His voice gave strength to all our struggles...people on the margins, got immense support from him
— Aruna Roy

the aam admi

Justice Verma always refrained from doing any private for-profit work.

He lived with his family in a rented flat in Noida, a Delhi satellite town.

By a self-denying ordnance, he declined to engage in the lucrative activity of arbitration
— Soli Sorabjee

His last rites were performed jointly, by his granddaughter and grandson.

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I knew of his reputation as a brave judge who discharged his judicial functions fearlessly during the emergency
— Soli Sorabjee






He served as Chief Justice, Rajasthan from September 1986.


And as Governor of Rajasthan on two separate occasions between 1986 and 1989. 


His appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court, long overdue, occurred in June 1989.

Some lawyers say his several bold rulings against governments and politicians delayed his promotion
— India Today

Justice Verma was sworn in as Chief Justice on 25th March, 1997 by President Shankar Dayal Sharma.


His tenure saw some of his greatest legal innovation, as in the Vishaka Judgment.


He is remembered as the Judiciary’s “conscience keeper” for his “Restatement of the Values of Judicial Life” – a code of ethics for the judiciary.


He remains one of India’s most highly regarded chief justices.


As chair of the NHRC, he again did seminal work. His tenure was, in fact, the golden period of the NHRC, especially for his role during the Gujarat riots
— Prashant Bhushan
If anybody made an impact as the chairperson of the NHRC, it would be Justice Verma. He displayed great courage in bringing out his report on the Gujarat riots, which accused the Gujarat government of inaction and asked the prime minister to step in.
— Mukul Sinha
I had rarely met someone I respected more than Justice Verma. The media industry has lost a mentor and guide
— Vikram Chandra

He enjoyed cricket, reading on the jhula and spending time with family and friends.

His moral integrity and great intellect did not take from Justice Verma an appetite for the simple pleasures of life
— DGP Chaman Lal
I had been to Justice Verma’s house a few times. I was very impressed by his frugal living.
— Arvind Kejriwal
Justice Verma drove his own car and did not like any kind of pomp and pedentary
— Gopal Subramaniam
His progressive outlook towards life was strengthened by the fact his last rites were carried out jointly
— Gopal Subramaniam