Justice Ranjan Gogoi has brought in, by his vision and imagination, radical changes in the judiciary as well as in the Registry, which will, among others, go a long way in tackling pendency as well as faster disposal of cases.
By Alangad Raghunath
In the past 25 years, I have seen and witnessed the functioning of several chief justices of India. Many have come and gone. Some have adorned the Chair for a few months, some for a year. One chief justice was lucky to have tenure of almost three years. But, let me be candid and forthright here. Never before have I witnessed a chief justice, like the present incumbent, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who have in his relatively short tenure of slightly more than a year, heralded a slew of reforms which will surely have a far-reaching and profound impact on the functioning of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in particular, for decades to come. Justice Ranjan Gogoi has brought in, by his vision and imagination, radical changes in the judiciary as well as in the Registry, which will, among others, go a long way in tackling pendency as well as faster disposal of cases.
Reforms in judiciary
The latest decision of letting single judges decide cases of transfer petitions, as well as bail matters of below seven years, is revolutionary and thoroughgoing. His commitment to the complete overhauling of the apex court as well as the judiciary is legendary. He is also instrumental in relentlessly pursuing with the Executive and succeeding in increasing the strength of the Supreme Court judges to 34 from 31, which is by any stretch of imagination, no mean feat. It is also to his credit that during his tenure the most number of judges were elevated to the apex court. In fact, by 23rd September 2019, the apex court will sit with the full strength of 34 Hon’ble Judges.
A recent rumoured decision to introduce a permanent Constitution Bench in the Supreme Court comprising of five Hon’ble Judges will go a long way in settling doubtful interpretations of laws, which in turn will reduce pendency both in the apex court and the High Courts as well as in the lower judiciary.
Without sounding banal by uttering platitudes, let me state that the present Chief Justice will go down in history as the person who utilized his tenure to the hilt to bring about far-reaching reforms in the judiciary in general and Supreme Court in particular.
The tenure of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will also be remembered for the Ayodhya judgement, among others. A century of dispute and litigation have been put to rest smartly with a judgment which satisfies both Hindu and Muslim communities. Destiny has made the outgoing chief justice Ranjan Gogoi immortal with this judgment.
In fact, to say in a lighter vein, only Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister of the Country is able to keep pace with the incumbent Chief Justice of India, in bringing about reforms in their respective fields.
(Alangad Raghunath is Advocate on Record, Supreme Court. Views expressed are the author’s own.)