Thursday, March 23, 2023
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Ranjan Gogoi led the revolution in judiciary last year, as CJI he is now killing it

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Who will hold a press conference now that CJI Ranjan Gogoi and his collegium are in the line of fire?

The great revolution in Indian judiciary that was triggered a year ago could well be dead and buried now.

Ranjan Gogoi, then one of the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, along with three others had held a historic press conference on 18 January 2018. They questioned CJI Dipak Misra and his method of running India’s top court as well as his alleged cosiness with the Narendra Modi government. It was a watershed moment for India and its judiciary.

A year on, how ironic is it then that CJI Gogoi himself is now in the line of fire. His own actions as Chief Justice have caused an unprecedented upheaval in the judiciary after the controversial recommendations by the new collegium.

Also read: Now that he is Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi will have to walk the talk

Who will hold a press conference now?

It took a former Delhi High Court judge – Justice Kailash Gambhir – to question the impropriety of CJI Gogoi-led collegium surreptitiously replacing two judges who were recommended for elevation barely a month ago with new names. One of the new judges recommended – Delhi High Court Judge Sanjiv Khanna – is going to supercede three judges, including two who are already Chief Justices of other high courts and are senior to him.

Now it looks like that Supreme Court Judge S.K. Kaul has also written to the CJI, objecting to the new recommendations.

But, the silence of the others is deafening. Or do they feel let down by the chosen one – the one who was supposed to transform the judiciary, especially the collegium, into an open, transparent institution from the opaque system that we had gotten used to.

Also read: Give us back our staid, old & boring Supreme Court, dear Lordships

But the signs that CJI Ranjan Gogoi isn’t exactly the same man who the entire nation saw on TV screens last year talking about protecting the judiciary and democracy have been there for all to see ever since he took over as CJI in October 2018.

And, we can’t blame him for not forewarning us. When he wrote a note – one that blocked any chance that Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Ajay Kumar Mittal had of becoming Chief Justice of a high court, and cited a 15-year-old Intelligence Bureau input (that had been disregarded by a previous collegium as well as the government) – Ranjan Gogoi did give us a clear glimpse of what lay in store after he took over as the CJI.

But we chose to ignore the warning signs. In fact, when there were murmurs that the Modi government could punish him for being a part of the January press conference by denying him the top post after the retirement of CJI Misra, many came out in his support.

We cited constitutional morality and law to buttress our argument on why the Modi government could not deny him the post

Time has come for CJI Gogoi to be reminded of that constitutional morality and the hope that he rekindled in several that the Supreme Court would be different under him than it was under his predecessor.

Last year, in one of my articles, I had written: “I have a theory— within days of taking over, every incumbent CJI makes the previous one looks better. Hope the next CJI Ranjan Gogoi will prove me wrong.”

After the Rafale judgment, l’affaire Alok Verma, and now the controversial decision of the collegium, I am near-certain I won’t be proven wrong.

Also read: Prevent ‘another historical blunder’: Ex-judge to President on names cleared by SC collegium


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  1. Promotion shall be on merit ,seniority &performance to senior post.In cases of extraordinary performance by the officers – in addition to existing vacancies for promotions create a Supernumerary post to accommodate the junior with excellent turn out towards out of turn promotion as a gesture of appreciation or award.. It is not right to pin point the C.J.I or the P.M. in the event u donot find an answer. Some times what u have ended with a solution or a problem -u have no answer to explain in Administration starting with good faith ending in an unexpected result on performing the events. Always learn to appreciate what others do for their effort in achieving something. Find a continuous solution to fill up the gap. The over looked cases of Judges should be reconsidered and elevate them to higher posts by creating against the shortfall of vacancies in Supreme Court Cadre and accommodate them coterminous with the occupation of posts they occupy until their Retirement. Arrears of pending cases can be speedily cleared.
    My sincere appreciation to the ex CJI as well as the present CJI Hon. Ranjan Gogoi who are hard working as well as trying to improve Judicial Administration in our Country. Potitics and Administration will go “ill together.” Administration executes the legislations passed to protect the Constitutional set up and democracy.

  2. I am nearly if not totally in agreement with the author and publisher of the article.The conduct of Post appointment is really appalling and disturbing.Hope the spirit of that historical press conference rekindles the spirit atleast in the remaining tenure.

  3. Its simple logic.

    if it is anything against lutyens elite and their thinking, then its ANARCHY under modi raj…if the narrative suits them then its a REVOLUTION .

    Not only Gogoi but also K M Joseph also have his verdict on Rafel in favour of the government. Before the verdict he was a martyr(almost) for this group, now became a modi puppet.

    They start to unleash a smear campaign to malign the judge who voted along with modi on Varma, but the facts emerging now indicates lutyens mafia is at the hit job again.

  4. It is uncalled for and unjustified to blame the CJI Gogoi. For certain people everything would have been good if the SC had given a verdict against Rafel, in favour of tainted CBI chief. The anti CJI stand will be further aggravated if SC directs day to day hearing of Ram Mandir. Anybody going against their view is undemocratic.

  5. It is extremely intriguing and would be of interest and obviously of huge relevance for all of us to know as to who is genuine Mr Gogoi, the one who was a part of the press conference or the one we are getting to see after his assumption of the highest judicial office in the country.
    The gentleman who participated in the unprecedented press conference alleging lack of transparency and arbitrariness in the then CJI’s conduct has actually now seemingly surpassed his predecessor in both.
    Was that then articulation of anguish orchestrated or is the complete lack of respect for the institutional integrity and independence a reality .

  6. I think it’s unfair to target one individual – the CJI
    The article fails to consider its a decision of 5 judges and targets only one

  7. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala(Punjab)

    Mind boggling as well as entirely unexpected developments again enveloping the highest court of justice of the nation !

    January 2018 again repeating itself raising it wicked head !

    Not at all expected that CJI Justice Ranjan Gogoi after making a fine start as CJI will not come up to the expectations of the masses of
    India ! The past couple of months incidents pertaining to various constitutional institutions portray a black and dismal picture of the
    polity of India !

    Oh What a bizarre slip between the cup and lip for Justice Pradeep Nandrajog Chief Justice Rajasthan High Court and Justice Rajindra Menon Chief Justice of Delhi High Court ! Under the umbrella of NaMo fair and foul’s swapping places in the twinkling of
    eye is a normal course !

    Let us see what next ? Now when Lok Sabha Polls are drawing close such like many more startling developments are infact in the offing in abundance !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest, Barnala(Punjab)

  8. Many were genuinely fearful that Justice Ranjan Gogoi would be superseded, relieved when that did not happen, believed, a little naively perhaps, that his elevation itself would suffice to set things right. Real life is a lot more complex. We hope for some brilliant shafts of sunshine from Court no 1.

  9. I absolutely agree with the title of this article. CJI’s dismissal of the Rafale case, and not re-opening it after the SC have returned from vacation is puzzling to say the least. Removal of Alok Verma smacks of a badly conducted sleight of hand. It was entirely the CJI’s responsibility to make Justice Sikri aware of Justice Patanaik’s report, and indeed make it a part and parcel of the documents that were handed over to Mr Kharge too, to deliberate over the case. I hope the CJI is not under some psychological pressure which no one knows of at this stage!

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