oppn parties Appointment of CJI: Over To The Government Now

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Appointment of CJI: Over To The Government Now

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Laying to rest all speculations and following convention, the outgoing CJI Justice Dipak Misra has written to the government recommending the name of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, as the next chief justice of India. Commentators had been speculating that convention might be thrown to the winds as Justice Misra was supposedly peeved at Justice Gogoi for raising the banner of revolt by holding a press conference with three other judges to criticize the way of working of the present CJI. But when people occupy such high positions, they obviously do not let personal or professional tiffs come in way of conventions and fair play. Justice Misra has done what needed to be done and what all other chief justices had been doing before him.

There have been two instances – both, not surprisingly, when the late Indira Gandhi was prime minister– when the government did not appoint the senior-most judge as the chief justice. First, in August 1973, Justice A N Roy was appointed the chief justice superseding three judges senior to him. All three – Justice J M Shelat, Justice K S Hegde and Justice A N Grover – resigned in protest. All three judges had drawn Indira Gandhi’s ire by passing a majority order in the Keshavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala that went against what she wanted. Justice Ray had written a dissenting order more in line with the official thinking. He was rewarded for it.

Then again in 1977, Justice M H Beg superseded Justice H R Khanna as chief justice. Justice Khanna’s fault was that he was too independent, refusing to toe any particular line. Indira Gandhi was known to clip the wings of people who were independent thinkers or who swore by the rule of law. For it was her habit to bend the law according to her preference with pliant judiciary. Strategic appointments were a key to this. Those controversial appointments put pliant people in place and brought others in line too. They also showed who the boss was, something that Indira Gandhi was always eager to show. If this government follows Indira Gandhi’s line and does not appoint Justice Gogoi as chief justice, it would be driving another wedge in the relations between the executive and the judiciary. Apart from being the senior-most judge after the CJI, Justice Gogoi is an outstanding deliverer of justice and there can be no question marks on his competence. Hence, the government should not go against convention and should clear his appointment.