New Delhi: Justice Ranjan Gogoi is set to assume charge as the 46th Chief Justice of India (CJI) on Wednesday. Gogoi, who happened to be the first CJI from the North-East state of Assam will have a tenure of 13 months. He would retire on November 17, 2019. On September 4, former CJI Dipak Misra had sent a letter to the Centre recommending Gogoi as his successor.

Gogoi drew public attention in January 2018 after he, along with three senior most judges, held an unprecedented press conference and criticised the role of the then CJI Dipak Mishra on various issues, especially the manner of allocation of cases to certain benches. Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph were among those who addressed the press conference, perhaps a first in the history of the Indian judiciary.

Justice Gogoi, while speaking at an event in national capital had said that taking on the burgeoning pendency figures will be a priority during his tenure as the next CJI. Though, he is yet to reveal his ‘plan’ to bring down pendency in the courts, which stands at around 3.18 crore cases, he has had a resounding success in bridging the gap between the government and the public in terms of welfare schemes’ distribution. (Justices Ranjan Gogoi And Madan Lokur to CJI Dipak Misra: Call Full Court to Discuss Supreme Court Future)

List of cases awaiting Gogoi’s attention

Justice Gogoi has also been heading a bench in the apex court that is monitoring the preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in his home state Assam. The bench has been supervising the process of updating the NRC, prepared to identify residents of the state and weed out illegal migrants.

As CJI, Justice Gogoi will also be heading the bench of the top court that, for the first time in its history, will face a camera inside courtroom for live-streaming of the proceedings. The pilot project aimed at bringing “transparency and accountability” to the judicial process will initially live-stream only cases of national and constitutional importance.

Justice Gogoi has also been overseeing the case relating to setting up of special courts across the country to exclusively hear and decide on criminal cases against sitting Members of Parliament and State Assemblies.

Justice Gogoi is also heading a bench looking over the progress in the appointment of Lokpal and Lokayuktas. He was also hearing Central Bureau of Investigation’s appeal against the acquittal of Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the sensational Arushi Talwar murder case.

After a bench headed by outgoing Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to refer the 1994 Ismail Farooqi case to a larger Constitution bench, Justice Gogoi is likely to head the bench or form a new bench to hear Ayodhya dispute case, which is slated for hearing on October 29.

Another case which awaits Justice Gogoi’s attention relates to pleas against the practices of polygamy, ‘nikah halala’, ‘nikah mutah’ (temporary marriage among Shias) and ‘nikah misyar’ (short-term marriage among Sunnis) on grounds that these violate Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

As per ‘nikah halala’, if a Muslim woman, after divorce by her husband three times on different instances, wants to go back to him, she has to marry another person, consummate her marriage, divorce her second husband so as to get re-married to her first spouse.

About Gogoi: 

Born on 18 November 1954, Gogoi, son of  former Assam Chief Minister Keshab Chandra Gogoi did his schooling in Don Bosco School Dibrugarh. He had studied history in Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College.

As per the Supreme Court’s official website, Gogoi joined the bar in 1978. He mostly practised in the Guhawati High Court. On February 28, 2001, Gogoi was appointed as a Permanent Judge of the same high court. On 9 September, 2010, he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On February 12 , 2011 he was appointed Chief Justice and on April 23, 2012 Gogoi became a judge of the Supreme Court.

(With inputs from agencies)