Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday was sworn-in as the 46th Chief Justice of India. He was administered the oath by President Ram Nath Kovind. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan were among the dignitaries who were present in Rashtrapati Bhawan’s Darbar Hall for the ceremony.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi is the first Chief Justice of India from the north-east and his tenure will end November next year. As is the norm, Gogoi, the senior-most after former CJI Dipak Misra, was recommended by the latter and the appointment was then confirmed by President Kovind in September this year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Justice Ranjan Gogoi on taking over as the Chief Justice of India on Wednesday, saying his experience and wisdom would benefit the country. “I congratulate Justice Ranjan Gogoi ji on taking oath as the Chief Justice of India. His experience, wisdom, insight and legal knowledge will benefit the country greatly. My best wishes for a fruitful tenure,” Modi tweeted.
I congratulate Justice Ranjan Gogoi Ji on taking oath as the Chief Justice of India. His experience, wisdom, insight and legal knowledge will benefit the country greatly. My best wishes for a fruitful tenure. pic.twitter.com/UGT3SIjEms
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 3, 2018
CJI Gogoi started his career as a Permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court in February 2001. He went on to be transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2010 and was appointed Chief Justice there in 2011. He came to the Supreme Court as a judge on April 23, 2012.
There was speculation on Justice Gogoi’s elevation, following the unprecedented press conference on January 12 this year, when Justice Gogoi and three colleagues — Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — raised questions on the CJI’s allocation of cases to benches in the Supreme Court.
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At the Supreme Court, CJI Gogoi is currently monitoring the update process of the National Register of Citizens, intended to identify illegal migrants in Assam. He is also dealing with a plea seeking appointment of Lokpal. Earlier, he was part of the seven-judge bench, which, in May 2017, held Calcutta High Court Judge C S Karnan guilty of contempt of court. He also headed the bench that directed the government to set up special courts to fast-track cases against politicians. In May this year, his bench struck down an amendment passed by the Uttar Pradesh government that allowed all former chief ministers to retain their official residences.
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Last week, the former CJI dismissed a plea challenging the appointment of Justice Gogoi, saying the petition was “devoid of merits”. Referring to the press conference called by the judges in January, the petitioners claimed that they “tried to arouse public furore in the country in the names of certain internal differences in this court”. “We are of the view that it is not the stage to interfere (with the appointment),” the bench said.
At the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture organised by The Indian Express in July, CJI Gogoi had said that noisy judges and independent journalists are democracy’s first line of defence and a revolution, not mere reform, is needed to keep the institution of the judiciary responsive to the changes in society.
CJI Gogoi, a stickler for discipline, has garnered a reputation for being a judge who applies his mind, is proper and holds all nature of relationships in high regard. His colleagues in the topmost court term him as “a man of few words, strong and deep convictions and also a man of action. He speaks little but acts.”