Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
After holding an unprecedented press conference and capturing public attention over what ails the highest court of the country early this year, Justice Ranjan Gogoi is set to helm the coveted seat of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) starting October 3.
At an event held in the capital last week, Justice Gogoi said that taking on the burgeoning pendency figures will be a priority during his 13-month long tenure as the next CJI.
While Justice Gogoi is yet to reveal his 'plan' to bring down pendency in the courts, which stands at around 3.18 crore cases, he has had a resounding success in bridging the gap between the government and the public in terms of welfare schemes' distribution.
As Executive Chairman of National Legal Service Authority (NALSA), Justice Gogoi spearheaded the program to hold legal service camps across the country wherein government departments set up stalls to highlight various welfare schemes and also made them available for the masses. A recent report released by NALSA said that around 43 lakh people have benefited from the camp.
Justice Gogoi has also been heading a bench in the apex court that is monitoring the preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in his home state Assam. The bench has been supervising the process of updating the NRC, prepared to identify residents of the state and weed out illegal migrants.
As CJI, Justice Gogoi will also be heading the bench of the top court that, for the first time in its history, will face a camera inside courtroom for live-streaming of the proceedings.
The pilot project aimed at bringing "transparency and accountability" to the judicial process will initially live-stream only cases of national and constitutional importance.
Justice Gogoi has also been overseeing the case relating to setting up of special courts across the country to exclusively hear and decide on criminal cases against sitting Members of Parliament and State Assemblies.
Justice Gogoi is also heading a bench looking over the progress in the appointment of Lokpal and Lokayuktas.
He was also hearing Central Bureau of Investigation's appeal against the acquittal of Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the sensational Arushi Talwar murder case.
After a bench headed by outgoing Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to refer the 1994 Ismail Farooqi case to a larger Constitution bench, Justice Gogoi is likely to head the bench or form a new bench to hear Ayodhya dispute case, which is slated for hearing on October 29.
Another case which awaits Justice Gogoi's attention relates to pleas against the practices of polygamy, 'nikah halala', 'nikah mutah' (temporary marriage among Shias) and 'nikah misyar' (short-term marriage among Sunnis) on grounds that these violate Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
As per 'nikah halala', if a Muslim woman, after divorce by her husband three times on different instances, wants to go back to him, she has to marry another person, consummate her marriage, divorce her second husband so as to get re-married to her first spouse.
On September 3, President Ram Nath Kovind, appointed Justice Gogoi as the 46th CJI. The 64-year-old will be the first Chief Justice from the North Eastern region of the country.
Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of little over 13 months and would retire on November 17, 2019.