Verma died late Monday of multi-organ failure after a brief illness, said Dr. Yatin Mehta, an official at the Medanta Medicity hospital where he was being treated in a New Delhi suburb.
A lifelong crusader for justice and a firm believer in the integrity of judges, Verma was known as the conscience-keeper of the Indian judiciary.
After he retired as the country's chief justice in 1998, he refused to take any job in the private sector to avoid the appearance of impropriety. But the government repeatedly turned to him for help. He was the head of India's national panel on human rights and the first head of India's national broadcasting standards authority.
But his landmark service came earlier this year when he headed a government panel to examine the Indian criminal justice system's treatment of violence against women. The panel was formed following the fatal gang rape in the capital in December. The case sparked protests and demands for changes in the way India treats its women.
Verma's commission received more than 80,000 suggestions on how to change Indian law and completed a 630-page report in just a month.
It recommended stricter penalties for crimes against women, including death in extreme cases of rape.
Many of the panel's recommendations swiftly became law.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh memorialized Verma not just for the "many path-breaking judgments he delivered as a judge, but also for his deep sensitivity to the concerns of the common man and his fierce commitment to the public good."
In a statement, Singh said Verma had been generous in giving him advice, which he will miss.