Assam-born Justice Ranjan Gogoi is one of the four top judges of the Supreme Court, who in a move unprecedented in the history of Indian judiciary addressed reporters in New Delhi on Friday to declare that “all is not well” with apex court as they launched a scathing attack on Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for “ignoring the concerns voiced by them”.
The other three SC judges are Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who along with Justice Gogoi addressed the media at Justice Chelameswar’s residence to vent their ire on CJI Mishra.
The judges said they were compelled to take the unprecedented step as they had “no choice” but to communicate the same to the nation.
Underlining they were convinced that democracy will not survive if the institution of judiciary was not protected, they said they have failed to convince the Chief Justice of India about the same, The Indian Express reported.
“All our efforts have failed and we are all convinced that unless this institution is not preserved, democracy can’t be protected in the country,” The Indian Express quoted Justice Chelameswar, who is the second senior most judge, as saying.
“We met the CJI with a specific request which unfortunately couldn’t convince him that we were right therefore, we were left with no choice except to communicate it to the nation that please take care of the institution,” he said, adding that the four of them were only voicing their personal opinions, and had not discussed it with anyone else.
When asked if he thinks Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra should be impeached, Justice Chelameswar said, “Let the nation decide that.”
Justice Gogoi added, “Nobody is breaking the rank and it is discharge of debt to nation which we have done.”
Barring Justice Joseph, all the three judges—Chelameswar, Gogoi and Lokur—had served in Gauhati High Court.
While Justice Lokur was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court on June 24, 2010, Justice Chelameswar served as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court in 2011.
Justice Gogoi, son of former Assam Chief Minister Keshab Chandra Gogoi, originally hails from Dibrugarh in Upper Assam. He had been at the Gauhati High Court before being transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 9, 2010.
He was appointed as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2011. He was elevated as a Supreme Court Judge in April 2012.
Justice Gogoi recused himself from hearing the plea filed by a lawyers’ group against the proposed elevation of Justice J.S. Khehar as Chief Justice of India in December 2016. Justice Gogoi also led the Bench which heard the sworn statement of former CBI officer in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
He used to stay at Zoo Road Tiniali area in Guwahati when he was serving as Justice of Gauhati High Court.
Justice Gogoi is in line to become the Chief Justice of India in October 2018, succeeding Justice Dipak Misra. He will be the first judge from Northeast to hold that post.