Editor's note: This article is being republished in light of President Ram Nath Kovind appointing Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India on Thursday. Justice Gogoi will assume office on 3 October.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, currently the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court after Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has been appointed the next Chief Justice of India.
Born on 18 November, 1954, Justice Gogoi joined the Bar in 1978, as the Supreme Court website states. He practised mainly in the Gauhati High Court and was appointed as a Permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court on 28 February, 2001.
He was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 9 September, 2010 and was then appointed the Chief Justice of the same high court on 12 February, 2011.
Justice Gogoi became a judge of the Supreme Court on 23 April, 2012.
On 12 January, 2018, Justice Gogoi — along with Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had called a press conference and said the situation in the top court was "not in order" and many "less than desirable" things had taken place.
Unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive in this country," the four judges had said.
A day later, Gogoi had said that "there is no crisis" in the Supreme Court.
On 13 July this year, Justice Gogoi had said that a "revolution, not reform" is needed to keep the institution of judiciary serviceable for the people, asserting that the judiciary would have to be more "pro-active" and on the "front foot".
He had said that "independent judges and noisy journalists are democracy's first line of defence...Reports of the death of democracy are greatly exaggerated. But the least bad system of government ever devised, is in trouble. It needs defenders."
He had expressed concern over "inefficiency" and "slow processes" in the administration of justice which, he had said, have been historical challenges.
"The judiciary today is not a poor workman who blames his tools, but it is a workman with no tools. I am not going to saddle you with the figures that we keep consuming every day on pendency, arrears and judges' strength but in the light of what a French author had once said 'Everything has been said already, but as no one listens, we must begin again'," he had said.
In January this year, a Supreme Court bench led by Justice Gogoi had dismissed a petition seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigation into the attacks on the then Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar on 15 and 17 February, 2016.
"We don’t want to flog a dead horse back to life. We don’t like to proceed further and we are not inclined to continue with the petition," LiveLaw had quoted Justice Gogoi as saying.
In the infamous Sowmya rape and murder case, a Supreme Court bench led by Justice Gogoi had in September 2016 dropped the murder charge against Govindachami, who had earlier been awarded the death sentence by a trial court for the crime.
In the case, 23-year-old Sowmya had been assaulted and raped by Govindachami. She later succumbed to her injuries. Even though the Justice Gogoi-led bench had upheld the life imprisonment given to Govindachami, the murder charge was dropped.
"To hold that the accused is liable under Section 302 IPC what is required is an intention to cause death or knowledge that the act of the accused is likely to cause death. The intention of the accused in keeping the deceased in a supine position, according to P.W. 64, was for the purpose of the sexual assault. The requisite knowledge that in the circumstances such an act may cause death, also, cannot be attributed to the accused," the bench had held.
This verdict by the Supreme Court had been heavily criticised by various people, who wanted death penalty for the convict.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Sep 13, 2018 19:32:12 IST