Ranjan Gogoi is the 46th Chief Justice of India. He headed the Supreme Court bench which pronounced the verdict of the Ayodhya land dispute case.
Ranjan Gogoi was born on Thursday, 18 November 1954 (age 68 years; as of 2022) in Dibrugarh, Assam. His zodiac sign is Scorpio. He did his schooling from the Don Bosco High School and the Cotton University in Guwahati, Assam. He pursued Honours in History from the St Stephen’s College in Delhi. He did Bachelor of Laws from the Delhi University. When he completed his college studies, he attempted and cracked the UPSC examination; as his father wanted him to do so. However, he told his father that he gave the exam only because it was his (Gogoi’s father) wish, but he himself wanted to be an advocate.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family, Caste & Wife
Ranjan Gogoi belongs to the Tai Ahom Ethnicity . His father, Kesab Chandra Gogoi was the former Chief Minister of Assam. His mother’s name is Shanti Gogoi. His elder brother, Anjan Gogoi is a retired Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. His younger brother, Niranjan Gogoi is a doctor, and he stays in London, United Kingdom. He has two younger sisters whose names are not known.
Ranjan Gogoi is married to Rupanjali Gogoi. They have two children together, a daughter, Rashmi Gogoi (advocate) and a son, Raktim Gogoi (advocate).
In 1978, Gogoi enrolled at the BAR Association, and he started practicing at the Gauhati High Court. On 28 February 2001, he was appointed as the Permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court. On 9 September 2010, he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On 12 February 2011, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
On 23 April 2012, he was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India. On 3 October 2018, he was appointed as the 46th Chief Justice of India, for a tenure of 13 months till his retirement on 17 November 2019.
On 18 October 2019, as per the protocol, Gogoi sent a letter of recommendation to the Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, recommending SA Bobde‘s name as the 47th Chief Justice of India. On 9 November 2019, he pronounced the verdict on the 134 years long Ayodhya Land Dispute case.
In November 2019, he was retired from the post of the Chief Justice of India.
On 16 March 2020, President Ram Nath Kovind, by exercising his powers conferred by sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of Article 80 of the Constitution of India, read with clause (3) of that article, nominated Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha.
- Gogoi was a part of the Supreme Court bench that heard the “Soumya Murder and Rape Case.” The bench set aside the death penalty awarded by the High Court and sentenced the accused to life imprisonment for rape and other offences of causing bodily injuries to the victim. The judgement was criticized by the public and several political leaders. Former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Markandey Katju also voiced his opinion against the judgement. He was summoned by the Supreme Court on account of “contempt of court.”
- On 12 January 2018, Gogoi and three other Supreme Court Judges became the first judges in the history of India to hold a press conference. They alleged that there were problems in the working of the Supreme Court of India and there was a failure in the justice delivery system and allocation of cases. They also questioned the then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra that why Justice Arun Misra was allocated the hearing in the case of the death of CBI Judge, B.H.Loya. Justice Misra condemned the actions of the judges and said that the press conference was held to tarnish his image.
- On 19 April 2019, a former female employee of the Supreme Court of India alleged that Gogoi had sexually harassed her. She stated that in October 2018, Gogoi had harassed her sexually on two different occasions at his home office. She also said that she was terminated from her job in December 2018 and the real reason for the termination of her employment was that she rejected Gogoi’s sexual advances. However, on 6 May 2019, an enquiry panel set up to investigate the matter cleared Gogoi of all charges.
- A defamation lawsuit was initiated against him on 11 May 2023 by Aabhijeet Sharma, a social worker from Guwahati. Sharma filed a defamation suit worth Rs. 1 crore against Ranjan Gogoi in the Kamrup (Metro) district and civil judge court in Guwahati, alleging that Gogoi’s book titled ‘Justice for the Judge’ contains objectionable content related to the National Register of Citizens update exercise. Sharma also demanded a ban on the book. According to Sharma, Gogoi had falsely implicated him in his autobiography, stating that NRC officials were assaulted by locals, including Aabhijeet Sharma. Gogoi wrote in his biography,
At the local level, personal attacks on the SCNR (Hajela) and veiled attacks on the judges, particularly me, by local politicians and specifically by Aabhijeet Sharma, the president of Assam Public Works, left us (the Bench) convinced that orders should be passed to protect former state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela from undue harassment and calculated harm. The Bench passed the order dated 18 October 2019 for his deputation on inter-cadre transfer to Madhya Pradesh, his home state.”
In 2017, Sharma accused Hajela of being involved in a scam associated with the NRC update exercise, but he found this allegation to be unfounded. Ranjan Gogoi, who was leading a Supreme Court bench at the time, initiated a suo moto contempt case against Sharma and directed him to apologize unconditionally before the court. Sharma stated,
With adequate proof, I raised the concern over misappropriation of funds in the NRC exercise and the Auditor General of India found it correct. As a result, Hajela was removed from his post and transferred from Assam.”
Sharma pointed out another flaw in Gogoi’s biography where Gogoi wrote,
Subsequent events like filing of FIRs against Hajela and other NRC officials; allegations of corruption and threats to order CBI probes besides enormous misinformation to the media and wide publicity thereof leave me convinced that the Bench was thoroughly justified in passing the rather unusual order for the inter-cadre transfer of Hajela by invoking Article 142 of the Constitution.”
Assets/Properties (as of 2018)
- Bank Deposits: 6.50 lacs INR
- Fixed Deposits: 16 lacs INR
- Residential Building: Inherited land in the village of Japorigog Mouza Beltola, Assam
- Rs. 1 Lakh + Other allowances (as in 2020)
- During his tenure as the CJI, Gogoi was involved in several high profile cases such as the Reliance Communications case, the Ayodhya Land Dispute case, re-assessment of the income of Amitabh Bachchan case, and many more.
- In January 2018, a bench held by Gogoi heard the Kanhaiya Kumar case. However, he dismissed the petition which sought a probe on the attack on Kanhaiya which happened in February 2016.
- He headed the Supreme Court bench which decided that no individual can contest the elections without making a full disclosure of their assets/properties, educational qualifications, and criminal antecedents.