His Own Judge

Ranjan Gogoi’s desperate bid to set the record straight

28 February 2022
Ranjan Gogoi at his swearing-in ceremony as the CJI, in October 2018. In his book, Gogoi is candid about certain aspects of his career. But he appears candid only when it comes to the actions of other judges; when his own reputation is on the line, obfuscation is the rule.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Ranjan Gogoi at his swearing-in ceremony as the CJI, in October 2018. In his book, Gogoi is candid about certain aspects of his career. But he appears candid only when it comes to the actions of other judges; when his own reputation is on the line, obfuscation is the rule.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Ranjan Gogoi seems to believe he has been wronged. In his recently published autobiography, Gogoi appears as keen to sound humble as he does to portray himself as a victim. There is a sense of absurdity in a former chief justice of India, who accepted a nomination to the Rajya Sabha from the ruling party just months after completing a term, with many verdicts gifted to the government, claiming to be a victim. Yet, Gogoi has persisted, undeterred. More than anything else, Gogoi’s autobiography reads like the desperate attempt of a disgraced judge to set the record straight on the many controversies that plagued his career.

Gogoi does not try to disguise this endeavour. The title of the autobiography is an open admission of how he feels he has been misremembered. He recalls the “devastation caused” by the sexual-harassment allegations against him by a former staffer of the Supreme Court. Gogoi adds that the media and legal world have constantly brought up the issue, and that this “continues even today.” He writes, “This is why I have been prodded to title my memoirs Justice for the Judge.”

But that is hardly the only record that Gogoi wants to set straight. The former CJI uses the book to address all the controversies that may have cast a cloud over his reputation. These include his supersession of the judge Amitava Roy to the Guwahati High Court bench; his recommendations as part of the Supreme Court collegium; the adjudication of the National Register of Citizens case; the verdict in the Rafale, Kashmir and Ayodhya cases; and much more.

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    Arshu John is a former assistant editor at The Caravan. Prior to that, he was an advocate practising criminal law in Delhi.

    Keywords: Ranjan Gogoi CJI Supreme Court chief justice autobiography The Caravan Collection #18
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