Article 124 of the Indian Constitution establishes the Supreme Court of India. It is headed by the Chief Justice and as many judges as determined by the parliament by law. The incumbent Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will be retiring on 17th November, 2019. Today will be his last working day. He succeeded Justice Dipak Misra as the Chief Justice on October 3rd, 2018. He has served for a little over 13 months. He will be succeeded by Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde.
Till date, he has delivered judgements in about 47 matters. Here are some of the important ones:
1. Babri Masjid- Ram Janmabhoomi case– A five judge constitutional bench headed by CJI delivered a balanced judgement. The 2.77 acres of disputed land was handed over to a trust that will be set up by the Union government which will then decide on a scheme to construct a Ram temple. In pursuance of its powers under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution (power to do complete justice), the court also made provisions for an alternate site measuring 5 acres in Ayodhya itself to be provided to the Sunni Waqf board.
2. Rafale aircraft deal- The Supreme Court rejected a case before it which demanded a probe into this entire deal with France. Alleged irregularities regarding the price structure, number of aircrafts, firms involved in it became a cause for concern to the petitioner. Subsequently, a review petition was filed in the Supreme Court. This too has been rejected on November 14th, 2019.
3. Office of CJI ‘a public authority’ as per the definition of Right to Information Act- This was yet another land mark judgement delivered by the CJI who clearly ruled that transparency is not an obstacle to the sacrosanct concept of judicial independence, a basic feature of the Indian constitution.
4. In a judgement, the CJI also lashed out at the government in general, both Union and States, and prohibited them from displaying photos of politicians on government advertisements. It was considered to be against public interest.
5. The Supreme Court’s judgements shall also be available in Hindi and seven other languages of the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution in addition to English.
Other suggestions of the Chief Justice of India:
1. Raising the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65. Judges of the Supreme Court retire at the age of 65 and High Court judges at 62.