The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea challenging the appointment of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India, saying the petition was “devoid of merits”. “We are of the view that it is not the stage to interfere (with the appointment),” a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.
The petitioners, advocates R P Luthra and Satyaveer Sharma, sought quashing of the order of appointment of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the Chief Justice of India, saying the unprecedented press conference called by the top four SC judges, including Gogoi, “tried to arouse public furore in the country in the names of certain internal differences in this court”.
On September 13, Justice Gogoi, the most senior judge in the Supreme Court after Chief Justice Dipak Misra, was appointed as the next CJI by President Ram Nath Kovind. The appointment came after Misra adhered to the tradition of recommending the most senior judge after him for the high office despite Gogoi being one of the judges who had raised questions on the CJI’s allocation of cases to benches in the apex court.
“This act of the four senior-most judges of the court was not less than a sabotage to the judicial system of the country,” the petition stated. It further said that “the petitioners are aggrieved of the actions and omissions on the part of respondent 1 (Union of India) and respondent 2 (Chief Justice of India), which has resulted into appointment of respondent 3 (Justice Ranjan Gogoi) as the Chief Justice of India instead of reprimanding him for his illegal and anti-institutional act”.
The petition said that act of Respondent 1 and Respondent 2 “is illegal and unconstitutional and also against the canons of law because the appointment to the highest post of the judiciary has been awarded to a person who is guilty of committing judicial impropriety and judicial misconduct”.
As the 46th Chief Justice of India, Justice Gogoi will have tenure of about 13 months, till November 17, 2019. Currently, the bench headed by Justice Gogoi is monitoring the updation of the Assam National Register of Citizens. He is also dealing with a plea seeking appointment of Lokpal.