None Wiser than the Law is a miniseries of in-depth conversations with Justice MN Venkatachaliah, providing an intimate exploration of the legal realm, his life journey, political insights, and the Indian constitution. The title of this podcast draws inspiration from Aristotle, who said to seek to be wiser than the law is the very thing which is by good laws forbidden. Justice Venkatachaliah, a distinguished figure in the realm of jurisprudence, acknowledges this aphorism in one of his landmark judgments, setting the tone for this series of conversations.
The host, Alok Prasanna Kumar, a co-founder of the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, spoke to former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachaliah in August 2023. Their discussion spans an array of topics, encapsulating the Justice’s journey from a young lawyer to a Supreme Court judge, his landmark judgments, and his insights on the ever-evolving legal landscape and society.
Justice Venkatachaliah was elevated as a permanent judge of the Karnataka High Court on November 6, 1975. In October 1987, he was elevated to the Supreme Court of India to become only the third judge from the Karnataka High Court to have been appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of India. As the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court of India in February 1993, he succeeded Justice LM Sharma as the Chief Justice of India and held that position until his retirement in October, 1994. In his 20 month tenure as the Chief Justice of India, Justice Venkatachaliah initiated a wide set of reforms that are remembered to this day. In this, the fourth episode, Justice MN Venkatachaliah delves his career as a judge of the High Court and Supreme Court, and as the Chief Justice of India, and his subsequent post-judicial career.