The Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra by endorsing the name of Justice Ranjan Gogoi for the next CJI has put an end to all the canards that the incumbent CJI would not endorse Justice Gogoi because he is a critic of the Central government and he was also part of the press conference questioning the working of the CJI Dipak Misra. Justice Gogoi along with three other judges criticized CJI Misra over a number of issues. The four judges also alleged that democracy was in danger. They also accused CJI Misra of allocating important cases selectively to benches “with no rationale” and also said that the administration of the SC “is not in order”. After this episode, there were rumors that CJI Misra would not recommend Gogoi’s name as his successor to the Central government. But with the latest move, the incumbent CJI has put an end to all the rumor mongering. His decision shows that he is fully committed to maintaining the autonomy and integrity of the institutions especially the apex court, a move that goes well against the oxymoron charge of ‘undeclared emergency.’ CJI Misra will retire on 2nd October and before retiring he showed what democracy is.
According to the memorandum of procedure, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had written to the incumbent Chief Justice of India last month asking the name of his successor. If the recommendation is accepted then Justice Gogoi is expected to take oath as the next CJI on October 2.
Justice Gogoi comes from Assam. He will be the first judge from the North-East to become the Chief Justice of India. He will be India’s 46th Chief Justice. Born in 1954, Justice Gogoi was anointed as a permanent Judge of the Guwahati High Court in February 2001. Justice Gogoi later became the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on February 12, 2011, and was appointed as a Supreme Court Judge on April 23, 2012. He is the son of the former Assam CM and Congress leader- Kesab Chandra Gogoi. He will retire in November 2019. Justice Gogoi will serve the office of CJI for a 13-month period. His collegium would include Justices Arjan Kumar Sikri, Sharad Bobde, N V Ramanna and Arun Mishra. Justice Gogoi also heads the bench that is monitoring the whole National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam.
Once he becomes CJI then it would be interesting to see what steps he would take to ameliorate judiciary and it would be also interesting to see what would he do keep the role of master of roster to himself or not? The issue of ‘master of roster’ was the most contentious one which led to the unprecedented press conference by the four dissenting judges, including Justice Gogoi.
Reacting to his appointment senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi called it ‘great news’. He said, “Firstly, it strengthens the judiciary. The convention is being followed. If it had not happened, it would have been a serious problem for not only the judiciary, but the state. I am glad that it is being done. Also, Justice Gogoi is one of the most outstanding judges that you could come across. He is an intuitive judge. He makes up his mind in a matter of seconds. But, he is always open to changing his view if you are able to convince him. He is a brilliant judge in all fields.”
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