Ranjan Gogoi, on Wednesday, was sworn in as the 46th Chief Justice of India. Succeeding Justice Dipak Misra, Gogoi becomes the first Chief Justice from North East. Justice Gogoi will have the tenure of just thirteen months and would retire on November 17, 2019. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath to 63-year-old Justice Gogoi at Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Darbar Hall.
Born on 18 November 1954 at Dibrugarh in Assam, he completed his primary education from Don Bosco School Dibrugarh. His father, Keshav Chandra Gogoi, was the Chief Minister of Assam for two months in 1982.
Justice Gogoi, an expert on constitution, taxation and company laws, joined as a lawyer in the Guwahati High Court in 1978. He was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Guwahati High Court on February 28, 2001. On 9 September 2010, he was transferred to the Punjab & Haryana High Court and raised up as the Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court in 2011. A year later, he was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on April 23, 2012.
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During an address to young lawyers on Saturday in New Delhi, he said: “pendency is bringing a lot of disrepute and it has the potential of making the system irrelevant”. He further added, “the accused in a criminal case is getting a hearing after he has served out the sentence; the parties in a civil proceeding are getting their judgments in the second or third generation.”
Earlier on 12 January this year, the first time in the history, the topmost judges of Supreme Court came out in the open to protest against the danger of Judiciary and its proceedings being undermined. Justice Ranjan Gogoi, along with Justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, and Kurian Joseph called a press conference to discuss the various issues relating to the allocation of cases and failure in the justice delivery system.
During the press conference, four Judges told the media that the press conference was prompted by the issue of allocating to Justice Arun Mishra the death case of special CBI Judge Justice Loya who mysteriously died in December 2014. Justice Loya was investigating Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which Gujarat’s top police officers and BJP President Amit Shah are named.
The world’s second most overpopulated nation is still struggling with millions of pending cases. The country’s lower courts are dealing nearly 28 million pending cases, while high court has 3.2 million cases in pending. There are more than 54,000 pending cases at the Supreme Court.
Justice Gogoi has a huge responsibility and task to deal with pending cases. It would be interesting to see to what extent the new CJI overcomes this pressing problem.