Justice Ranjan Gogoi took oath as the 46th Chief Justice of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday, reported PTI. President Ram Nath Kovind had confirmed his appointment last month.
Gogoi takes over after former Chief Justice Dipak Misra retired on Monday. He will have a tenure of 13 months, and will retire on November 17, 2019.
After taking oath, Gogoi said he is working out a new mechanism for mentioning matters for urgent listing and will come up with parameters, reported the Hindustan Times. “No urgent mentioning of cases will be allowed” till certain parameters are fixed for it, he said. “We will work out the parameters then we will see as to how mentioning will be done,” he said. “If somebody is going to be hanged tomorrow, then we can understand [the urgency].”
The new chief justice has earlier said that he has a plan to tackle the high number of pending cases in Indian courts. The problem of pendency of cases has the potential to make the judicial system irrelevant, he had said.
Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging Gogoi’s appointment, stating that the plea had no merits.
Gogoi, born on November 18, 1954, joined the Bar in 1978. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Gauhati High Court on February 28, 2001. Nine years later, he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where he rose to become chief justice on February 12, 2011. He was elevated to the top court the following year.
Master of the roster
Soon after Gogoi took oath, the court issued a new subject-wise roster of business for judges. It shows what type of cases will be listed before benches headed by the 11 most senior judges of the top court. Gogoi’s court will hear all matters of public interest litigation, though he may allocate some to Justice Madan B Lokur, the most senior judge after him. Gogoi will also hear matters related to elections, social justice, company law, arbitration, habeas corpus pleas and contempt.
Lokur will head benches hearing cases related to land acquisition, conservation of forests, social justice, personal law and consumer protection among others.
Gogoi’s predecessor, Dipak Misra, introduced a subject-wise roster system in February. The move came weeks after four judges immediately junior to him, including Gogoi, held a press conference and said that the chief justice had not addressed their concerns about the way the court was being run. One of their major concerns was that the chief justice had arbitrarily
assigned important cases to benches.