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With Ayodhya, Bhima-Koregaon Benches to be Set Up, New CJI Gogoi Will Test the Waters Soon

When it comes to allocation of cases and constituting benches, his predecessor, Justice Dipak Misra, faced a lot of criticism from across the quarters, including from his own colleagues that included Justice Gogoi.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:October 3, 2018, 5:13 PM IST
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With Ayodhya, Bhima-Koregaon Benches to be Set Up, New CJI Gogoi Will Test the Waters Soon
Justice Ranjan Gogoi signs the register after taking his oath of office on being appointed as the 46th Chief Justice of India, at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi, on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: In the coming few days, new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi shall test the waters of being at the helm.

When it comes to allocation of cases and constituting benches, his predecessor, Justice Dipak Misra, faced a lot of criticism from across the quarters, including from his own colleagues that included Justice Gogoi.

As the CJI now, Gogoi will be in the same shoes.

He would be tested in the estimation of lawyers and public at large when he decides how the hearings in Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute and Bhima-Koregaon case shall proceed henceforth.

On his first day in court number 1, Maharashtra government filed an appeal against the order of releasing one of the five arrested activists, Gautam Navlakha.

A three-judge bench comprising former CJI Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had earlier heard and decided this case against the activists by 2:1 majority, ruling that there was no proof that the five activists were arrested for political dissent and Pune police go ahead with the investigation.

After the retirement of Justice Misra, the other two judges are sitting in different benches.

The new CJI will now have to decide whether the matter is to be heard by another three-judge bench or even a two-judge bench can adjudicate it.

Justice Khanwilkar and Justice Chandrachud have already differed with each other in the main judgment and hence, if a three-judge bench is to be set up again, Justice Gogoi will have to take a call on whether he would head it himself or some other senior judge shall be made to lead the bench.

Constitution of this bench will be keenly watched by a bunch of activists and lawyers, who have been calling the arrests as an attempt to muzzle dissent.

Similarly, the order not to refer Babri land dispute to a larger bench was again decided by 2:1 majority and the bench was headed by former CJI Misra.

The case is now to be listed in the week commencing October 28 and a new bench will have to be put in place.

In this case too, the two judges still available - Justices Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer - had dissenting views and thus, a senior judge shall have to head the bench.

Justice Gogoi will here also have to make a decision whether he would head this bench himself, given the fact that the former CJI was hearing it as a special bench matter.

And if Justice Gogoi decides to stay away, he will have to pick some other judge as the administrative head of the institution. Whatever may be his decision, there will be a lot to be said once he decides on the constitution of this bench.

On his first day at the top post, Justice Gogoi sounded the bugle by making it clear there will not be any long queue of lawyers in his court just to get the dates of hearing.

The new CJI has begun with a change and all the decision he takes from here on will be watched very closely, and shape opinions and perceptions about his stint.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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