Justice Ranjan Gogoi will be the next Chief Justice of India. He will take over from Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who is retiring on 2 October. Justice Gogoi is likely to take oath on 3 October.
As per Supreme Court’s protocol, the outgoing CJI needs to recommend the name of successor to the Ministry of Law.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had asked CJI Misra to recommend the name of his successor. Once the recommendation by CJI Misra is approved, Justice Gogoi will become the 46th Chief Justice of India.
While Gogoi’s appointment is on expected lines, a press conference addressed by him along with three other top SC judges on 12 January had created some confusion.
At the press conference, the four judges – Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar – had released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago, conceding that he was the master of roster but that was “not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues”.
Asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Judge Loya, Justice Gogoi said: “Yes.”
The four judges also touched upon another controversial issue, the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government.
Justice Chelameswar told the media that they were “convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintains its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country… The hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges.
“Since all our efforts failed… Even this morning, on a particular issue, we went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request. Unfortunately we could not convince him that we were right.”
Justice Gogoi said they were “discharging debt to the nation that has got us here”.
Justice Chelameswar, who retired on 18 May this year, was the senior-most judge after Misra.
Born on 18 November 1954, Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of a little more than one year before he retires in November 2019.
Justice Gogoi had joined the bar in 1978. In 2001, he was appointed as permanent judge of the Gauhati High Court and was later transferred to the Punjab & Haryana High Court in September 2010. On 23 April 2012, Justice Gogoi was elevated to the Supreme Court.
(With agency inputs.)