By Elton Gomes
Justice Ranjan Gogoi will succeed Dipak Misra as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI), after the latter retires on October 2, India Legal reported.
India Legal reported that Gogoi’s elevation to CJI was inevitable, but several issues in the interregnum led to slight uncertainty over the nomination. An example of this uncertainty was the press conference held by four Supreme Court judges over their concerns against CJI Misra – Gogoi was part of the four judges.
However, sources added the issue has been cleared, and Justice Gogoi will take oath on October 2. There were also rumours about the government introducing a bill to increase the retirement age of judges, but they were quelled by the law ministry.
Law Ministry asks CJI Misra for successor’s name
The law ministry Tuesday had sent a formal letter to CJI Misra, seeking the name of his successor. Misra was to reply in a few days. In line with the tradition of the Supreme Court, the Court’s senior-most judge is appointed as CJI, which meant that Gogoi, due to his seniority, would become the next CJI.
CJI Misra’s last day in office is on October 2, and he has to give the name of his successor at least a month before stepping down. A source told the Economic Times that Misra is likely to send his successor’s name in the next few days. The source indicated that it would be done somewhere in the first week of September.
Top government sources revealed to The Print the appointment of the CJI was discussed a few days ago and that it was felt that the principle of seniority should be followed. A source claimed that if Justice Gogoi is denied the top post, it would give the opposition more grounds to criticise the government.
When asked whether Justice Gogoi will succeed CJI Misra, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the intentions of the government should not be doubted in the matter. News 18‘s legal editor, Utkarsh Anand, tweeted Prasad’s words: “There’s no reason to doubt our intention. There’s a convention in place & CJI has to forward the name of successor. Let that name come first.”
A “tough and outspoken” judge
Born on November 18, 1954, Justice Gogoi joined the Bar in 1978. Thereafter, he was appointed as a permanent judge at the Gauhati High Court on February 28, 2001. After a 9 year stint, he was transferred to the Punjab & Haryana High Court in 2010 and was appointed as Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in 2011. Justice Gogoi was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012. If he succeeds CJI Misra, he will have a tenure of 1 year, 1 month, and 14 days and will retire on November 17, 2019.
Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior Supreme Court judges who spoke to the media in the press conference in New Delhi on January 12. Justice Gogoi said that the situation in the top court was “not in order” and that many “less than desirable” things had taken place.
A “tough and outspoken” judge, Justice Gogoi has been well-known for his contempt for ‘motivated PILs.’ He had requested the government to do away with the technique of reserving quotas in jobs and admission on the basis of caste.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius