Justice Gogoi to take oath as CJI on Oct 3


NEW DELHI, Sep 13: Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who said Indian democracy needs "not only independent judges and noisy journalists but even independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges", was on Thursday appointed the 46th chief justice of India (CJI). He is the first person from northeast to hold the top judicial post.
President Ram NathKovind on Thursday issued warrants of appointment for Justice Gogoi, the second senior most apex court judge, and whose name was recommended by outgoing CJI DipakMisra, who retires on October 2. He will be sworn in October 3.
The CJI-designate, who has delivered many key judgments including on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and on the appointment of the Lokpal, will hold the post for just over an year till November 17, 2019.
Justice Gogoi had also been at the extraordinary January 11 press conference called by the four senior most judges of the court criticising CJI Misra over the administration of the top court and formation of benches for key cases. The other judges were justice J Chelameswar (now retired), justiceMadan B Lokur and justice Kurian Joseph.
He had also created a stir when he issued a contempt notice to former apex court judge MarkandeyaKatju who criticised the top court's verdict in the Soumya rape and murder case wherein a bench headed by him held the accused guilty of rape but not murder. Justice Katju had subsequently appeared in the court to apologise for his remarks, thereby ending the matter.
Born in Assam on November 18, 1954,he began his legal career as an advocate in the Gauhati high court in 1978 and was elevated as a judge of the same court in 2001. He was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2010 and became its chief justice in 2011 before being elevated to the Supreme Court in 2012.
Besides the NRC case where he along with justice RF Nariman had ordered preparation of the list of citizens, Justice Gogoi has quashed the Uttar Pradesh government notification that allowed former chief ministers of the state to retain their official residence, laid down guidelines for designation of senior advocate in the Supreme Court and on government spending on public advertisements.
Justice Gogoi has also maintained that "judiciary must certainly be more pro-active, more on the front foot" to redefine its "role as an institution in the matters of enforcement and efficacy of the spirit of its diktats, of course, subject to constitutional morality (separation of powers) again". He said also that the institution, "at all levels, needs to become more dynamic in the matters of interpretation of laws" as a "constitutional moment of its own kind", adding this would be challenging."both at the micro level and the macro level because both come with their unique sets of challenges".
He has drawn attention to the divide between two Indias - one that "believes it is the new order" and another that lives below a "ridiculously drawn poverty line" - both of which are "at conflict".
Also calling called for legal awareness and legal empowerment of the marginalised in this "vastly unequal society" to be a made "an observable reality", he had cited the case of undertrials, who comprise 67% of the prison population, mostly belong to the underprivileged classes and 47% are between the age of 18-30 years.
On the problems before the judiciary, he had held but "inefficiency" and "slow processes" had been historical challenges, but the simple truth was that the "judiciary today is not a poor workman who blames his tools, but it is a workman with no tools".

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