As Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is set to retire on October 2, the Law Ministry has asked him to recommend the name of his successor. Sources in the Law Ministry said that Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has recently written to CJI Misra asking him to suggest the name of the judge who will replace him.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi is the senior-most judge of the top court after the CJI and Misra is likely to recommend his name as the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) which governs the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, says that the “appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office”.
The MoP stipulates that the Law Minister would, at an appropriate time, seek the recommendation of the outgoing Chief Justice of India for the appointment of the next CJI. After the recommendations of the CJI, the Law Minister puts it before the Prime Minister, who then advises the President in the matter of appointment.
“Whenever there is any doubt about the fitness of the senior-most Judge to hold the office of the Chief Justice of India, consultation with other Judges...would be made for the appointment of the next Chief Justice of India,” the document states.
Recently, while responding to a question at the Law Ministry’s annual press conference on whether the government would follow the laid-down conventions and procedures to appoint Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice, Prasad had said that the government’s intention on the appointment of the next Chief Justice of India should not be questioned.
He had made it clear that when the sitting chief justice will recommend the name of the senior-most judge of the top court as his successor, the executives will take a call on it.
The speculations over Justice Gogoi’s appointment as the next CJI emerged following an unprecedented press conference by four senior-most judges, including Justice Gogoi, in January 2017 when they had criticised Justice Misra over various issues, especially the manner of allocation of cases to certain benches.
(With inputs from PTI)