Journey of Justice Ranjan Gogoi

September 14, 2018 225 views
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Justice Ranjan Gogoi is currently serving as a Supreme Court Judge and has been recently recommended by the sitting Chief Justice of India, Justice Dipak Misra to succeed him as the next CJI.

Brief Background

Justice Gogoi is originally based out of Dibrugarh in Eastern Assam. He decided to follow his father’s footsteps and entered the legal profession. His father initially entered the legal field and subsequently became the Chief Minister of Assam. Prior to being elevated as a Supreme Court Judge, he was serving as the Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court. His father Late Mr. Keshab Chandra Gogoi was the Chief Minister of Assam for the Indian National Congress.

Professional Career

Initially, Justice Ranjan Gogoi practised as an attorney at Guwahati High Court. Subsequently, he was made the Permanent Judge of the Guwahati HC in 2001. In 2010, he was transferred to the Punjab & Haryana HC and was elevated to the position of the Chief Justice in the year 2011. Thereafter, in the year 2012, he was elevated as a Supreme Court judge and is currently serving in the same position. However, recently he has been recommended by the CJI Dipak Misra who will end his tenure in October 2018 as his successor to the position. Once he will be appointed at the Chief Justice of India he will create history by becoming the first CJI from North-East India.Justice Gogoi is known for speaking his mind in the fraternity and has always stood up strongly for his beliefs and opinions. The President of the Bar Association Mr. Atul Chandra Buragohain had remarked that ‘Justice Gogoi was cut out to be a judge who thought differently’.[1] He had adopted a very different approach and combined cases of the same category together in order to render speedy justice and reduce the burden of cases. Following the same approach, he managed to dispose of 10,000 cases pertaining to the Assam’s Education Department.He has been very vocal about his opinions and has also remarked during a lecture that he delivered at the Third Ramnath Goenka Memorial Event on the theme ‘The Vision of Justice’ that, ‘Independent journalists and noisy Judges should be the democracy’s first line of defense’. He also remarked that ‘The judiciary was the last bastion of hope and has been the guardian of the great constitutional vision’.[2]He is known for his upfront attitude and transparent approach, and a solid evidence of the same is that he is among the very few Supreme Court judges to have made information regarding his personal assets available in the public domain.

Major Contributions to the Judiciary

Justice Ranjan Gogoi has handled some major and intricate cases during his tenure. Infact, apart from his vocal attitude on the bench, he has also been upfront about his views publically. An evidence of the same is the unprecedented and controversial Press Conference that was called out by sitting Supreme Court Judges among whom were Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice MB Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph with regard to their issues with the present Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra in respect to allocation of cases to certain benches. The Sowmya rape and murder case was presided over by Justice Gogoi, and the Bench acquitted the prime accused in the case. Infact, he became the first Judge to issue a Contempt Notice to a Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju for an attack on the Judges and not the Judgment, this was in relation to the Soumya Rape and Murder case. He has also presided over the controversial Arushi Talwar Murder case and the case against Kanhaiya Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union Leader. He dismissed a petition seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the incidents of attacks on Kanhaiya Kumar. He is now Presiding over a Bench which is hearing the plea against Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in Arushi Talwar’s Murder case which has been filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).Another landmark judgment which was delivered by Justice Gogoi was the judgment that allowed the Government to only use the pictures of the President, P   rime Minister and CJI in Advertisements. Justice Gogoi was also a part of the Bench which dismissed an appeal filed by Reliance Communication, challenging the Gujarat Government’s demand notices seeking to levy Rs. 13 crore property tax on cell towers and telecom equipment installed on rooftops and building terraces in the state.[3]Another major case presided over by Justice Gogoi along with Justice R. Banumati was with respect to coconut oil packaging in small containers as to whether it will be classified as edible oil or hair oil for the purpose of taxation.  Justice Ranjan Gogoi has contributed immensely to the judicial system of the country. The outspoken attitude that he is known for is exactly what India needs in this hour.                                                                                       


 


[1]

Who is Ranjan Gogoi, and what is he known for?

, The Hindu, (Sep. 8, 2018),

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/who-is-ranjan-gogoi-and-what-is-he-known-for/article24903500.ece

[2]

Full text: Justice Ranjan Gogoi delivers the Third Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture- The Vision of Justice

, (July 14, 2018),

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/justice-ranjan-gogoi-at-rng-lecture-independent-judges-and-noisy-journalists-are-democracys-first-line-of-defence-5257119/

.

[3]

RCom appeal against Gujarat move to levy property tax dismissed

, Financial Times, (Apr. 27, 2018),  

https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/rcom-appeal-against-gujarat-move-to-levy-property-tax-dismissed/1147218/

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