In January this year, Justice Gogoi was among four judges who held an unprecedented press conference protesting against then Chief Justice Dipak Misra
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on Wednesday (October 3), was sworn-in as the 46th Chief Justice of India becoming the first judge from the country’s far-flung north-eastern region to helm the highest court of the land.
As per traditions, Justice Gogoi, whose elevation as Chief Justice was recommended by his predecessor Chief Justice (retired) Dipak Misra in September, was administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Like his predecessor who retired on October 2, Chief Justice Gogoi will also have a tenure of a little over 13 months and will demit office on November 17, 2019 when he turns 65.
Having begun his stint as a judge in February 2001 when he became a Permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court, Chief Justice Gogoi also served as chief justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court before being elevated to the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012.
Up until being sworn-in as the Chief Justice, Justice Gogoi, as the head of the top court’s Court No 2 (the courtroom of the second senior-most Supreme Court judge after the Chief Justice), was monitoring the update process of the National Register of Citizens, intended to identify illegal migrants in Assam. He was 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 CS 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.
On January 12 this year, Justice Gogoi was among the four seniormost judges of the Supreme Court – the others being Justice (retired) Jasti Chelameswar and Justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who held an unprecedented press conference to red flag issues facing the Supreme Court and criticise then Chief Justice Dipak Misra’s selective allocation of important cases to benches headed by junior judges. Many had speculated then that by going public with his criticism of the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court, Justice Gogoi had put his elevation as Chief Justice in peril.
Last week, Chief Justice Dipak Misra (since retired) had dismissed a plea challenging the elevation of Justice Gogoi, saying the petition was “devoid of merits”. Referring to the press conference called by the judges in January, the petitioners had claimed that they “tried to arouse public furore in the country in the name 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 headed by then Chief Justice Misra had said.