Retired Bombay High Court judge Justice Madanlal Laxmandas Tahaliyani, who was hailed for his exemplary conduct of the trial of hanged terrorist M. Ajmal Amir Kasab, was sworn-in as Maharashtra's new Lokayukta on Monday.
He was also praised as "a true flag-bearer of the rule of of law in this country".
He was sworn-in by Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao at a function in Raj Bhavan attended by top dignitaries including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, judges of various courts, ministers and Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
Shooting into global limelight for conducting the trial of the sole surving Pakistani terrorist in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Justice Tahaliyani, 62, succeeds retired Justice P.B. Gaikwad whose term ended last month.
Born on December 23, 1953 in Sardar Shahar, Rajasthan, Justice Tahaliyani started his legal practice in May 1975 in the cities of Gondiya and Chandrapur in Maharashtra.
Two years later he was appointed assistant public prosecutor in Gadchiroli district with jurisdiction over Gadchiroli, Sironcha, Desaiganj and Warora.
In 1987, he was appointed as Metropolitan Magistrate in Mumbai and later was the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate here in 1994 and subsequently became the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in 1997.
He was elevated as a judge of the Bombay City Civil Court later that year and then rose onto become the Principal Judge of the same court in 2010, and in 2011, became a judge of the Bombay High Court.
Judge Tahaliyani pronounced his historic verdict on May 6, 2010, holding Kasab guilty for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks and awarded him the death sentence.
His judgement was later upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court after which Kasab was sent to the gallows and hanged in Yerawada Central Jail, Pune, on November 21, 2012
The Supreme Court in its judgement on August 29, 2012 in the Pakistani terrorist Kasab versus Maharashtra, applauded Justice Tahaliyani in conducting the trial proceedings and maintaining the record of the case "in an exemplary manner".
In their judgement, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Chandramauli Prasad recorded: "In the course of hearing of the appeal, we also came to know the trial judge Shri Tahaliyani. From the records of the case, he appears to be a stern, no-nonsense person. But he is a true flag-bearer of the rule of law in this country."
"The manner in which he conducted the trial proceedings and maintained the record is exemplary. We seriously recommend that the trial court records of this case be included in the curriculum of the National Judicial Authority and the Judicial Authorities of the different states as a model for criminal trial proceedings," Justice Alam and Justice Prasad noted.