New Delhi: Will the name of senior most judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who hails from Assam be recommended to become the next Chief Justice of India to succeed the present CJI Dipak Misra, who retires on October 2. The Union law ministry has sent a communication to the Chief Justice to recommend the name of his successor so that it could commence the process of appointment at least three weeks before Misra demits office.
Normally the recommendation is sent a month before the CJI demits office. According to highly placed sources, CJI Misra is expected to send his recommendation early next week and the government is likely to accept it. There was speculation in the judiciary and the government whether Justice Ranjan Gogoi who spearheaded a revolt by holding a press conference on January 12 along with his three companion judges, J. Chelameswar (who has since retired), Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph would be made the next CJI.
It is in this context the Law Ministry has written to Justice Misra to make his recommendation at the earliest. Under the Memorandum of Procedure evolved under the collegium system, it is customary and a convention for the outgoing CJI to name the senior most judge as his successor. There have been two attempts earlier to bypass the convention or “supersede” judges, after Independence.
The first “supersession” was in 1973 involving three judges. The then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi appointed Justice A.N. Ray as the CJI overlooking the three seniormost judges of the Supreme Court, Justices J.M. Shelat, A.N Grover and K. S Hegde. The second and possibly most infamous supersession, happened during the height of the Emergency, when Mrs. Gandhi disapproved the dissenting judgment of Justice H.R. Khanna and Justice M.H. Beg was appointed as the CJI.