Known to be a disciplinarian, Justice Ranjan Gogoi refuses to entertain delays in court. Also rejigs roster and splits PIL duties with Justice Madan B. Lokur.
New Delhi: Soon after being sworn in as the 46th Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi began his tenure Wednesday with a bang. His mantra seems to be ‘no time to waste’, as he changed the convention of cases being ‘mentioned’ before the CJI every morning.
“No mentioning! We are working out the parameters. If someone is being released today, then yes, if someone is being hanged, then yes,” he said.
This is a break from precedent set by previous chiefs. His predecessor, Justice Dipak Misra, only allowed advocates on record to mention cases, preventing senior advocates from doing so.
Taking lawyers to task
CJI Gogoi, who is known to be a disciplinarian, also took advocates to task for wasting time. Advocate Mathews Nedumpara was trying to mention a matter, but began with a salutation to the incoming chief.
“All the best as the captain of the ship,” Nedumpara said.
However, the new CJI cut him short, saying, “Mr Nedumpara, we don’t need this. You are here to mention? No mentioning till parameters are worked out.”
CJI Gogoi refused to entertain any delays in court matters. “No pass over, argue your case,” he told a lawyer present.
Changes to the roster
Justice Gogoi has not made many glaring changes in the new Supreme Court roster that was made public Wednesday.
The biggest difference is that the new chief has shared PIL matters between himself and Justice Madan B. Lokur. “Letters, petitions and PIL matters allocated by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India” will be heard by Justice Lokur, according to the roster.
Justice Gogoi’s own bench includes Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph. The CJI’s bench will also hear social justice matters, election matters, company law matters, arbitration matters, and eight other topics of constitutional importance.
Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, who sat on Justice Dipak Misra’s bench, have been transferred to other benches.
Justice Khanwilkar will now be the junior judge with Justice Kurian Joseph in courtroom number three, and Justice Chandrachud will now sit as the junior judge with Justice U.U. Lalit in courtroom 11.
Justice Chandrachud, who has authored landmark judgments including key dissents in matters heard by constitutional benches, will now hear matters pertaining to labour, criminal tax, religious endowments, personal law, service, ordinary matters and consumer protection, among others.
With 24 judges in the top court against a sanctioned strength of 31, there are just 11 benches that will now hear all matters.