Nanje Gowda Venkatachalla is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. For many years, he has been a prominent figure in the judicial system, especially that of the state of Karnataka where he served not only as a judge of the High Court but as a member of the Lokayukta of the state.
He is known especially for his efficient, hands on and unchanging manner of ensuring that justice always prevails.
His Early Life and Education
Venkatachalla was born on the 3rd of July, 1930, in the village of Mittur in the Kolar district of Karnataka, India. Being the son of an agriculturalist, he came from a very humble background and with hard work, dedication, a deep seeded love for justice; he set about establishing a life for himself that would one day earn him respect and recognition all over the country.
Venkatachalla holds bachelor’s degrees in both Science and Law. He began his career by signing up as an advocate in the High Court of Mysore (now referred to as the High Court of Karnataka) where he first served as a part time reader in Mercantile Law and subsequently as the legal adviser for the University of Agricultural Sciences and Bangalore University.
He was then elected as the High Court Government Pleader, promoted to the role of High Court Government Attorney and finally was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Karnataka High Court.
His Significant Achievements
As already mentioned, Venkatachalla was appointed as a permanent judge of the Karnataka High Court and subsequently as acting Chief Justice in May, 1992. He went on to be sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court of India on 1st July, 1992 for a period of three years, after which he officially retired as a judge.
Perhaps his most significant achievement to date has been his tenure in the Karnataka Lokayukta where he dedicated all his time and effort into ensuring that corrupt politicians did not go unpunished and personally handled more than fifty thousand cases over a four and a half year term in office.
He encouraged people to speak up and not be afraid of the politicians that they themselves had elected to power and could remove at any point of time. During his time, the system became more transparent as he re-instilled a state of fear and responsibility in the minds of the politicians.
He will forever be remembered for his stand against corruption, his approach to tackle the issue and the fact that he was the first Lokayukta to take the oath of office and secrecy in Kannada.
His Current Status
Today, Nanje Gowda Venkatachalla, at the age of 81 years, is still an active member of society and more importantly, the judiciary of the country. His last official post was that of the President of the All India Lokayukta/ Lokpals/Upalokayuktas’ Association to which he was elected in 2006, and he is currently a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP).