He joined the bar in 1955. Soon, heen rolled as an advocate of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 1959. In 1972, he was appointed as the judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court.His foremost contribution was in a case where a juvenile was being tried for murder. It is in this case that he laid the foundation for the Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 by holding that a Juvenile ought to be tried under procedures different from howan adult is tried for criminal offences.
In the year 1985 he became the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court and later from 1986 till 1989 he served as the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court. Thereafter, he became a Supreme Court Judge in June 1989. He was the acting governor of Rajasthan twice between 1986 and 1989. In 1998 he was appointed as the Chief Justice of India.
He also chaired the National Human Rights Commission from 1999 to 2003. He was also the head of a committee which had to submit report on amendments to criminal law after the 2012 Delhi gangrape case. He is one of India's most revered Chief Justice and an Eminent Jurist. During his time, he passed many landmark judgments which took the shape of judicial activism in India. He has relentlessly worked towards the expansion of fundamental rights to enable social reforms as can be observed in the case of Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan. He is also credited for developing the concept of ‘Continuing Mandamus’ which is a judicial innovation.
In case of K veeraswami versus Union of India, he had observed that a member of the higher judiciary was not intended by the parliament to be included within the definition of ‘public servant’ under the prevention of corruption act.
He presided over the second judges case (Advocates-on-record association and others vs Union of India) which lay the foundation for the formation of collegium system for the appointment ofjudges to the higher judiciary in India.
He was known for his bold decisions and never bowing down to political pressure. In SR Bommai vs Union of India, the court held that the proclamation of emergency under article 356 leading to president's rule could be examined within Judicial review but has a limited scope.
Inthe case of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind v. Union of India Justice Verma upheld the principles of natural justice and emphasized that freedom of expression and freedom to form assemblies are important facets of the Indian Constitution. This case had considerable political pressure since it was about sedition.
Inthe case of RV Prabhu v. P.K. Kunte, 1995 which is one of his most controversial judgments, he had famously stated that the word Hindutva should not be taken in in a negative light because the word in itself does not depict any hostility towards other religions.
As the chairman of NHRC from 1999 to 2003 he handled one of the most crucial cases of Gujarat violence of2002.It is because of his efforts that the case did not weaken from political involvement.
He was also one of the few judges who supported that Right to Information should include judicial accountability as well. Justice Verma died in 2013 in Gurgaon at the age of 80.