NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday clarified its stand on the appointment of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India, saying there was no reason to doubt its intentions.
Speaking at a media briefing, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said convention required that the sitting CJI first send the name of his successor.
“Let me first say that this question about appointment (of Justice Gogoi as CJI) is hypothetical. There is a convention in place. The sitting CJI has to forward the name of his successor. Let that name come first,” Prasad said.
The minister was speaking at an event to highlight the achievements of the Modi government in the last four years.
Questions over Justice Gogoi’s appointment as the next CJI started doing the rounds following the unprecedented press conference held in January by four of the senior-most judges, at which sitting CJI Dipak Misra was criticised over administrative issues, especially allocation of cases to select benches.
Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had addressed the conference, the likes of which has never been seen in the judicial history of India.
According to the memorandum of procedure, “Appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office.”
There has been only one instance of supersession in the appointment of the CJI so far. During the Emergency era, the Indira Gandhi-government appointed Justice AN Ray as the CJI, superceding three senior judges of the Supreme Court -- J M Shelat, A N Grover and K S Hegde.
About the triple talaq Bill, Prasad said, “We will pursue the Bill in all earnestness. I take this opportunity to appeal to Soniaji, Mamataji and Mayawatiji, who are influential women leaders, that on the issue of triple talaq, they need to go beyond the political divide.”