Dipak Misra recommends Ranjan Gogoi as next Chief Justice of India in letter to govt

If the recommendation is cleared by the Central government, Justice Gogoi will be administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind on October 3.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2018 23:06 IST
Ashok Bagriya
Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dipak Misra,Ranjan Gogoi,Supreme Court
Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra has recommended the name of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as his successor.(PTI File Photo)

Justice Ranjan Gogoi is likely to take over as the 46th Chief Justice of India (CJI) after the current CJI, Dipak Misra, recommended him as his successor to the government on Tuesday, according to officials familiar with the development.

Justice Gogoi, 63, who is likely to be sworn in on October 3 – a day after justice Misra retires – is the second senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, and justice Misra has stuck to convention by putting his name forward to the Union ministry of law and justice for its assent.

Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of 13 months – till November 17, 2019.

An official at the ministry confirmed that the letter had been received.

Justice Gogoi was elevated to the Supreme Court in April 2012 after serving as chief justice of the Punjab & Haryana high court. A native of Assam and the son of former Assam chief minister Keshab Chandra Gogoi, he will be the first CJI from India’s Northeastern states.

Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior-most judges of the court who had called an unprecedented press conference this January, when they had publicly raised concerns about the administration of the court and the formation of benches for the allocation of important cases. The other three were justices Jasti Chelameswar — who has since retired — MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

There had been some speculation in the higher judiciary if the move would lead to justice Gogoi not being recommended as the next CJI.

When asked about the issue, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said in June that the government’s “intention on the appointment of the next chief justice of India should not be questioned”.

Prasad wrote to CJI Misra last week to recommend the name of his successor. As per the existing Memorandum of Procedure governing the appointment of the chief justice of India, a recommendation letter from the incumbent is sent a month before his date of retirement.

According to clause 2.2 of the memorandum, the law minister then presents the “recommendation” to the Prime Minister who “advises the President in the matter of appointment”. In case there is any “doubt” about the “fitness” of the judge whose name has been recommended, the memorandum provides for “consultation with other judges”.

As per convention, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court has to be appointed as the next chief justice of India.

Born in 1954, justice Gogoi joined the Bar in 1978 and practised as a lawyer in the Gauhati high court until he was appointed as a permanent judge in the court on February 28, 2001. He transferred to the Punjab & Haryana high court in September 2010 and was named its chief justice in February 2011.

Over the last few weeks, justice Gogoi has been at the forefront of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam as the head of the bench -- its other member is justice RF Nariman -- hearing cases involving the list that will differentiate Indian citizens from illegal immigrants in the state.

Speaking at an Indian Express event in July, justice Gogoi had said that “independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges” were democracy’s first line of defence.

First Published: Sep 04, 2018 10:58 IST