New Delhi: The first-ever Justice from the northeastern states to reach the judiciary peak, Ranjan Gogoi, who brought down curtains on several landmark cases including the grand old Ayodhya dispute, retired as the Chief Justice of India on Sunday.
During the span of his tenure, Justice Gogoi faced a number of controversies as well as sexual harassment allegations, however, it never tampered with his judicial decisions.
Over the final week of his judicial tenure, Gogoi etched his name in the annals of history by heading benches that delivered some of the most path-breaking judgements including the politically and religiously sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case, the Rafale Deal case, Sabrimala Temple case among others.
On November 9, Gogoi concluded the decades-old case on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute giving the 2.77-acre land to Hindus for construction of Ram Temple, and order that Muslims be given a 5-acre land at a “prominent location” to build a mosque in the city.
He will also be remembered for heading a 7-judge bench seeking review of the Supreme Court’s 2018 judgement on Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, allowing women and girls of all ages to enter it.
On the other hand, many have criticised Gogoi for giving a clean chit to the Modi government twice – first on the writ petition and then on Thursday on the pleas seeking review of the December 14, 2018 verdict of the Rafale fighter jet deal with French firm Dassault Aviation.
Gogoi also took the limelight during NRC in Assam, his native state, for his no-nonsense approach, boldness and fearlessness in standing his ground while coming out in public recently to defend the decision to hold the exercise to identify illegal immigrants.
Gogoi’s tenure in the apex court will also be remembered for being part of a presser by the ‘gang of four’ senior-most judges in January last year that questioned the previous CJI’s way of functioning.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi was sworn in as the 46th CJI on October 3, 2018, serving a tenure of little over 13 months. Before demitting office, he recommended Justice SA Bobde, the seniormost SC judge to be his successor.