Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the 46th head of the Indian judiciary, is going to retire on this day. His reputation is of a no-nonsense administrator. In his tenure, he has given judgment on some iconic cases in Indian history.
We will discuss these cases later in the article; but first, let us have a look at his early life.
Ranjan Gogoi: Chief Justice of India
When Justice Dipak Misra retired and handed over the seat to Gogoi, there were crucial and politically important cases pending. Cases like Ayodhya land title dispute, the challenging Jammu & Kashmir state’s status and NRC of Assam were in the queue for their final verdict.
Gogoi would visit Raj Ghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi before his tenure as the CJI of India ends. Justice Gogoi will likely be having a video conference with 650 high court judges across the country and 15,000 judicial officers. He will be delivering his message to all judges and judicial officers.
The 64-year-old and son of former Assam Chief Minister Kesab Chandra, Gogoi was born in Dibrugarh. A student of history, Gogoi completed his studies from Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College and law from Delhi University.
After college, he enrolled in Gauhati High Court in 1978. Ranjan practiced constitutional, taxation and company matters before he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
On 23 April 2012, he was elevated as the Judge of the Supreme Court. On 3 October 2018, he was appointed as Chief Justice of India, succeeding Dipak Misra. Ranjan Gogoi is the first person from the northeast to be appointed to the top post of the judiciary.
Cases That Make Him An Iconic Judge
When Gogoi became the Chief Justice Of India, there were a lot of pending cases in the country. He has delivered some of the most iconic cases in the Indian judiciary. Let us have a look at some of the most famous cases handled by him:
Ayodhya title dispute
Ayodhya’s case was one of the most controversial cases of India. The case was pending for a long time and recently, the court gave its final verdict on it. A five-judge constitution bench of the apex court headed by Gogoi said the faith of Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the site was undisputed.
On 9 November, the seven-decade-long Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Land dispute got its final verdict of awarding a Hindu group ownership of the site. It also ordered the allotment of an alternative piece of five acres of land to the Muslims for a mosque.
Sabarimala Review Petition
On November 14, the Supreme Court gave its verdict on Sabarimala Temple. The Court said restrictions on women in religious places were not limited to Sabarimala alone. It was prevalent in other places of worship as well and the case was referred to a seven-constitution bench.
The Court gave its verdict in a split of 3:2, as the case did not only concern the entry of women to the Sabarimala shrine but also on other religious rights as well.
CJI Office Brought Under RTI
Gogoi as Chief Justice of India also gave verdict on the ambit of the Right to Information. A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Gogoi on 13 November held that the office of the CJI should be under the ambit of the Right to Information Act as it is a public office. Many people were against this decision as this was complete transparency.
A plea was filed by the Supreme Court Secretary-General. The plea was against the January 2010 judgment of the Delhi High Court that declared the CJI’s office a “public authority” within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.
Rafale Review Petition
On 14 November 2019, the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the Narendra Modi-led government at the center. The Court said there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets. This deal was made with France under an inter-governmental agreement.
The first Rafale aircraft will arrive in India in May. Once the training of the pilots will be over, a batch of four Rafales will be dispatched to the Ambala airbase.
These were some of the important cases of Ranjan Gogoi’s career. He served his tenure with full loyalty. S A Bobde will be taking over the seat of Chief Justice of India succeeding Ranjan Gogoi.