CJI Ranjan Gogoi thanks media for maturity in ‘trying times’
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday thanked the media for “displaying maturity” in their reporting when he went through “trying times.” It was CJI Gogoi’s last working day in court as he retires on November 17, which is a Sunday.
The outgoing CJI had come under attack after he faced sexual harassment charges from a woman employee of the top court. The complainant worked with the CJI at his residential office.
“Even during trying times, most members of the press displayed maturity, character. Media exercised exceptional discretion to prevent canards, falsehoods from clogging news space. At trying times, the stellar role of journalists as defenders of truth and democratic ideals came to the fore,” CJI Gogoi said in a statement.
CJI Gogoi issued his statement because he was not keen to interact with the media. Issued in response to the requests his office received for one-on-one interviews from several journalists, CJI Gogoi’s note read: “The bench requires judges to maintain silence while exercising their freedom.”
Justice Gogoi was part of the January 12, 2018 press conference held by four senior-most judges against the then CJI Dipak Misra’s style of functioning. Maintaining that judiciary and judges were not required to reach out to the citizenry through the press, justice Gogoi said outreach to media should be in an extraordinary situation.
He said the judiciary’s strength lay in public confidence and trust, earned through work as judges and not good press.
“Judges do speak out of functional necessity; bitter truths must remain in memory... Idea of courting the press never endeared itself as a choice in the interest of my institution,” read the note.
“I have always soldiered to strengthen our institutional values, and as a part of such discourse, I would not be able to meet your request for a one-on-one meet,” the CJI said.
He, however, said, “Good press is also a parameter known to be indicative of our institutional health.”
He said once into retirement, he looked forward to meeting the media to talk about things of “mutual interest.”