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india | IST

Plot against me a closed chapter, press conference didn't affect chance of becoming CJI: Ranjan Gogoi

Mini

The unprecedented press conference that he and three other top Supreme Court judges addressed in 2018 did not in any way endanger his chances of becoming the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi told CNN-News18. The jurist-turned-lawmaker has also narrated the episode in his recently released autobiography Justice for the Judge.

The unprecedented press conference that he and three other top Supreme Court judges addressed in 2018 did not in any way endanger his chances of becoming the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi told CNN-News18. The jurist-turned-lawmaker has also narrated the episode in his recently released autobiography Justice for the Judge.
On January 12, 2018, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, J Chelameswar and Kurien Joseph had held a press conference to level allegations against the-then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra. The judges had termed it an extraordinary event in the history of the institution and alleged that the administration of the Supreme Court was not in order and unless the institution was preserved, democracy would not survive in the country.
"How our chief justice is to be appointed, what are the norms governing it are fairly well-established by long years of experiment, precedents, trial and errors and today what is underground has been set out in that book. The choice of the incoming chief justice, either of the executive or the outgoing chief justices, is severely curtailed except for some reason which I can't visualise and, God forbid, it ever comes into existence the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court has to be nominated as the next chief justice," Gogoi told CNN-News18. "If, for any reason, the outgoing chief justice thinks otherwise, he has to consult his senior-most judges. Then it becomes a collective decision. The government to my mind has no option but to abide by the recommendation of the outgoing CJI. So you have a wonderful system of checks and balances. The outgoing CJI is circumscribed, the government is controlled by the norms and, therefore, I never had any apprehension about being recommended to succeed Justice Dipak Misra by Justice Misra himself."
Speaking on the sexual harassment allegations that he faced, which he has termed an attempt to jeopardise the functioning of the CJI, Justice Gogoi said that is now a closed chapter for him. A three-member in-house inquiry panel formed by Gogoi, who was the Chief Justice of India at the time, to probe the charges against himself gave him a clean chit on May 6, 2019, and said it found no substance in the allegations levelled by a former Supreme Court staffer.
"I have said whatever is there to say. If information comes to the CJI that based on the complaint there is an attempt to file an Article 32 petition to stop the chief justice from functioning, what does the chief justice do? Does he go and find out who is after this? Or he does something to pre-empt that move and I may tell you I do not believe in summaries and conjunctions and come to my conclusions. It's not fair. Proof in these kinds of matters is very difficult to find. Therefore, it is best to discipline your mind not to be swayed by emotions, perceptions, rumours, or by what you get to hear," he said.
Responding to a question about alleged differences with certain Supreme Court colleagues, Gogoi said he had not made any such references to Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Madan Lokur in his book, as insinuated by some.
"What I have said is certain people who I don't know and I would not wish to know have been selective in their outburst against me and I am not the only one who finds the outburst selective. There is this article where the correspondent of Times of India found justices so and so to be selective. I expressed no opinion," he said.