A man of few words, strong and deep convictions and also a man of action. He speaks little, but acts.
This is the crisp and straightforward manner in which Justice Ranjan Gogoi was described by his colleagues.
The judge, who has come to be renowned for his integrity and no-nonsense attitude in the profession, is the new Chief Justice of India (CJI) and his swearing-in ceremony took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Durbar Hall today.
Taking over from Justice Dipak Misra as the 46th CJI, Gogoi is the first ever judge from the North East to have assumed the topmost rank in the Indian legal system. Here’s all you need to know about the judge “with a big heart but thinks with his mind.”
1. The son of Keshab Chandra Gogoi, the former chief CM of Assam, and Shanti Gogoi, a well-known social worker, Ranjan Gogoi grew up in Dibrugarh before heading to Delhi, where he completed both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Following this, he decided to join the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.
2. After joining the bar in 1978, Gogoi practised at the Guwahati High Court, where he was interestingly made a permanent judge in 2001. After a nine-year tenure, he was then moved to Punjab & Haryana high court in 2010 and was appointed as the Chief Justice of the same court a year later. In 2012, he took over as a judge in Supreme Court (SC).
3. An interesting yet ‘prophetic’ anecdote about Gogoi’s present portfolio in his father’s words can be found in a book titled Gauhati High Court, History and Heritage. When asked if his son intended to follow the father’s footsteps, KC Gogoi had replied that “his son would not be joining politics and would therefore not be Chief Minister of Assam, but he definitely had the potential in him to be the Chief Justice of India.”
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4. Gogoi is known to have a very grounded and down-to-earth demeanour. In a rather amusing instance, he once left a fish-vendor at a government outlet in South Delhi awestruck. Why? Because never before had a ‘judge’ come to his stall to buy fish for dinner!
5. Amongst the eleven judges of SC who made their list of assets public in adherence to the resolution of transparency in the top echelons of Indian judiciary passed in 1997, Gogoi continues to uphold the ruling by regularly updating his possessions. Interestingly, the man doesn’t own a car, and it was only recently that he came to the possession of a house when his mother transferred an old home in the Kamrup district to his name.
6. 2018 took off with an incident that had never before occurred in the history of the Indian judicial system—four SC Justices took to the press and cited the trials and tribulations afflicting the Supreme Court and failure in the delivery of justice in the system. Gogoi was among the four judges, the others being Justices J Chelameswar, MB Lokur, and Kurian Joseph, who spoke out against the then incumbent CJI for his alleged inaction in upholding the integrity of the SC.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)