New CJI: Huge moment of pride for Assam and NE, say advocates

Guwahati(Assam) ,Oct 3 : The legal fraternity in Guwahati Wednesday welcomed the swearing-in of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the chief justice of India, the first person from the northeast to occupy the post, calling it a “huge moment of pride” for Assam and the region. Gauhati High Court Bar Association president Atul Buragohain said the association members are very happy over the appointment of Justice Gogoi, as he is its first member to become the chief justice of India, reported news agency PTI.

The report stated that Justice Gogoi was a member of the association after he became an advocate of the high court nearly four decades ago. He was born in Dibrugarh in Assam on November 18, 1954, and had enrolled as an advocate of Gauhati High Court in 1978.
He practised law on constitutional, taxation and company matters. Buragohain described Justice Gogoi as a “jewel of the northeast” and not just of Assam.

“He is an illustrious son of Assam – a man of principles and a very honest and upright man with a vision for independence of judiciary and protection of democratic rights,” Buragohain told PTI. The members of the bar association pray for the success of Chief Justice Gogoi and for his long life and good health to serve the country and its people in general and the judiciary in particular, he added.

Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of a little over 13 months. Senior Supreme Court advocate Upamanyu Hazarika said the assumption of office of chief justice of India by Justice Gogoi is a “huge moment of pride for northeast India and Assam.”

“It’s only fitting that the first chief justice from the region should be a worthy representative like Justice Gogoi – a repository of the values of truthfulness, courage and honesty characterising people of the region and widely acknowledged as one of the finest judges in the Supreme Court,” Hazarika said. Justice Gogoi, he said, is also a source of inspiration, particularly for the younger generation in Assam as he had built his career as a lawyer and a judge by being only in Guwahati barring the six years when he had studied in Delhi.

“This demonstrates that to reach the highest position in one’s chosen profession and become an accomplished judge it is not necessary to go out of Assam. Rather, there are immense possibilities in one’s own place and in the process contribute to the growth and development of the region,” Hazarika added. Senior advocate of the high court Sidhartha Sankar Dey said Justice Gogoi had matured as an advocate under the guidance of late advocate J P Bhattacharyya and he practiced in all branches of law.

As a judge Justice Gogoi meticulously balances law, equity and social problems, he said. In the book ‘Gauhati High Court – History and Heritage’, which was released in the court premises in the presence of Justice Gogoi in August, its internationally-acclaimed author Arup Kumar Dutta had quoted former Assam law minister Abdul Muhib Mazumdar on him.

Mazumdar had jocularly asked Justice Gogoi’s father, late Keshav Gogoi, who was a Congress politician and former Assam chief minister, if his son would join politics and follow his path. To this, Kesav Gogoi had replied his son would not join politics and therefore would not become a chief minister. But he definitely had the potential to become the chief justice of India, Mazumdar was quoted to have said in the book, which was published by Publications Division of the Government of India.

“Prophetic words, indeed”, Dutta, a Padmashree winner, had written in his book. Justice Gogoi was appointed judge of Gauhati High Court in 2001 after practising as an advocate for 23 years and was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in September 2010. He was appointed the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court just five months later in February 2011. He became a judge of the Supreme Court in April 2012.

There had been speculations over Justice Gogoi’s appointment as the next CJI after the SC’s four most senior judges, including him, had called a press conference in January and criticised Justice Misra on various issues, specially in the manner of allocation of cases to certain benches.

According to the Memorandum of Procedure, which governs the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, appointment to the office of the chief justice of India should be of the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court which Justice Gogoi was. He was named successor by former chief justice Dipak Misra earlier this month in accordance with the established practice.

Image courtesy : AFP.

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