NEW DELHI: Sticking to convention, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra on Tuesday recommended the name of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the seniormost judge in the Supreme Court after him, to be his successor. A formal letter to this effect has been sent to the Union Law Ministry.
If the government approves the recommendation, Justice Gogoi will be the 46th Chief Justice of India and the first from the Northeast, where he started legal practice as a lawyer.
Last week, the ministry had sent a formal letter to Justice Misra, seeking the name of his successor. Justice Misra retires on October 2 and his successor will assume office the next day.
The soft-spoken Justice Gogoi hit the headlines earlier this year when he, along with three other judges, in an unprecedented move, addressed a joint Press conference and went public to express their disagreement with the way the chief justice was allocating cases and running the court.
This unparalleled event had given rise to speculations if Justice Misra would still recommend the name of Justice Gogoi as the next CJI.
Justice Gogoi is known as a person who bluntly speaks his mind. A few months ago, he had described “independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges” as democracy’s “first line of defence” and had also suggested that the judiciary should “certainly be more pro-active, more on the front foot”.
In the courtroom, Justice Gogoi created quite a flutter in 2016, when he issued contempt notice against a retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju who had, in a Facebook post, criticised the top court’s verdict in the Soumya rape and murder case that held the accused guilty of rape but not murder.
Justice Gogoi is from Assam and headed the special SC Bench that is monitoring the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify citizens and weed out illegal immigrants.
In Justice Karnan’s contempt case, Justice Gogoi, along with Justice (since retired) J Chelameswar, had highlighted the necessity of revisiting the existing system of appointment of judges and bringing in necessary reforms to keep the public confidence intact in the judiciary.