The Constitutional Bench headed by outgoing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will deliver the landmark Ayodhya judgment - India’s one of most significant cases – in just few hours from now. Going by the conventions, the outgoing CJI saved up some key verdicts days before his tenure ends on November 17. CJI Gogoi is not the only one to retire with the crucial verdicts. His predecessors including Dipak Misra, JS Kheher and TS Thakur also delivered landmark verdicts before the end of their terms. The key verdicts that will be pronounced by CJI Gogoi include Ayodhya, Rafale deal and bringing the office of the CJI under the ambit of RTI.
The most important verdict among these cases is Ayodhya land dispute case. The Constitution Bench led by CJI Gogoi will pronounce judgment for the ownership of the disputed 2.77 acres of Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land. The verdict comes days after the marathon 40-day hearing concluded on October 16 last month.
RAFALE COMBAT JETS DEAL
The second case for which the CJI Gogoi may pronounce his verdict includes the one on Rafale fighter aircraft deal. The mega defence pact was at the centre of political storm during the runup for the Lok Sabha Elections. The CJI-headed Bench had reserved the order on the review plea filed by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, ex-Union Ministers Yashwant Singha and Arun Shourie. The review plea alleged that the government misled the court into delivering its December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the agreement.
Another key verdict that will have far-reaching impact on the judiciary is the verdict on an appeal to bring the office of the Chief Justice of India under the Right to Information Act, 2015. The plea was filed by the Supreme Court secretary general against a January 2010 judgment of the Delhi high court which held the office of the CJI to be a “public authority” as per the definition provided by Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.
CJI may also pronounce verdict on Sabarimala, another key review petition. A Review Bench of five judges led by CJI Gogoi is expected to either uphold or set aside its September 2018 majority judgment, which lifted the bar on menstruating women from worshipping at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.
WHO IS RANJAN GOGOI?
Justice Gogoi took over as the 46th CJI of India in March, 2018. Born on November 18, 1954, Gogoi was enrolled as an advocate in 1978. He practised in the Gauhati high court on constitutional, taxation and company matters. He was appointed as a permanent judge of the Gauhati high court on February 28, 2001. On September 9, 2010, he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana high court. He was appointed as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana high court on February 12, 2011 and then a judge of the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012.