JUSTICE Ranjan Gogoi Set Be Next CJI: Some More Judges Likely To Be Appointed To Fill Up Vacancies

ASSAM born Justice Ranjan Gogoi will be administered oath as the 46th Chief Justice of India On October 3 by President of  India Ram Nath Kovind  following superannuation of Dipak Misra. Justice Misra was the third Judge from the Orissa High Court where he had started his legal career to become CJI. Gogoi will be the first from India’s North –eastern region to occupy the august office. He is the senior most among the incumbent judges in the apex court after CJI Misra .The government is expected to go by the recommendation of the outgoing CJI to appoint Gogoi as his successor to avoid any controversary in the election year . Since under India’s Constitution, the retirement age of a SC judge is 65, Justice Gogoi will demit office on 17 November 2019 as the Government’s proposed bill seeking  to increase the retirement age for Supreme Court and High Courts judges  by two years is yet to be okayed by  Parliament . Justice Gogoi was enrolled at the Bar in 1978 and practised at the Gauhati High Court of which he was made a Permanent Judge on 28 February 2001. He was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 9 September 2010 and became its Chief Justice on 12 February 2011. He was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court on 23 April 2012 and will have tenure of over seven years there. Currently, chaired by Justice Ranjan Gogoi  a SC Bench  is hearing a PIL seeking appointment of Lokpal and Lokayukta at the Centre and in states as provided for in the central legislation passed in 2013. With India becoming a Republic on  26 January 1950, 45 people have served as the Chief Justice of India (CJI). H. J. Kania is the inaugural CJI, Justice Y. V. Chandrachud also from Maharashtra remains the longest serving Chief Justice from February 1978 to July 1985. Justice Gogoi  is currently heading the special bench that is monitoring the update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for his home state to identify citizens and detect illegal migrants. Justice Gogoi was also among the four Supreme Court judges who held the unprecedented press conference in January this year, raising concerns about the administration of the apex court and the independence of judiciary. Justice Gogoi had said that a “revolution, not reform” is needed to keep the institution of judiciary serviceable for common people, asserting that the judiciary would have to be more “pro-active” and on the “front foot”. Delivering the third Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture on ‘Vision of Justice’, the Supreme Court judge said that the judiciary was the “last bastion of hope” and has been “a proud guardian of the great constitutional vision”. In the January press conference, Justice Gogoi along with Justices J Chelameswar since retired, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph had said that the situation in the top court was “not in order” and many “less than desirable” things have taken place. Unless this institution is preserved, “democracy will not survive in this country,” the four judges had said. Incidentally, while Justice Madan Lokur is due to retire on December 30, 2018, his brother Judge Kurian Joseph is superannuating on November 29 this year. Unfortunately, none of the three  sitting  woman judges —R Banumathi from Tamil Nadu, Indu Malhotra from  Delhi and Indira Banerjee from WB –will  have  opportunity of  becoming CJI as they are junior  to other male sitting judges  .


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