“Who goes to the court? You go to the court and regret”, Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi Says Judiciary Is ‘Ramshackled’

Only so much can be achieved and done by the court. (I have) no regrets. It (NRC) is a future document. Analyze it. What's wrong with the NRC?

ranjan gogoi

Former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi termed the country’s judiciary ‘ramshackled’ and went to the point of saying that he won’t even go to the courts.
Gogoi said, adding that it is those who can afford to take chances, like the big businesses, who approach the courts, “Who goes to the court? You go to the court and regret”.

After his retirement as CJI in November 2019, Gogoi, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in March 2020, spoke at an event organized by the India Today channel.

You’d wash the dirty linen in the Court if you go to the Court. You’re not going to get a verdict,’ the former CJI said in response to a query by the anchor whether he will take legal action against Mahua Moitra MP over her remarks in the Lok Sabha that Gogoi discredited the judiciary by ruling on the charges of sexual abuse against him.


Without mentioning Moitra, Gogoi said that because he did not judge the case against him, the ‘lady politician’ did not get her facts correct. Gogoi said he had handed the file over to Justice Bobde, who was then the next senior judge, who, according to the in-house protocol, in turn, formed the enquiry panel.

Gogoi talked of the need for a “roadmap” to reform the judiciary system during the session lasting over thirty minutes.

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“You want a 5 trillion dollar economy but you have a ramshackled judiciary,” he said. The judiciary “succeeded” in adding its case arrears, he said with a sense of sarcasm, while the productivity of all agencies and organisations declined in 2020 due to the pandemic.

According to him, at the subordinate level, 60 lakh cases were added, 3 lakhs in the High Court and nearly seven thousand in the Supreme Court in the affected pandemic year.

“The road map is to have the right man for the job. You don’t appoint judges as You appoint officers in the government. To judge is a full-time commitment. It is a passion. There are no working hours. It is a 24/7 job. At 2 o’clock in the morning, you wake up, recall a point, and jot it down. That is how a magistrate operates. How many persons grasp this? “he said.

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“In speaking of the need to provide proper training in the judicial academies, he said: “When a judge is named, train him up. He needs to be reminded regularly… When you go to the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal, what is being taught?

Laws of the seas, laws of the oceans…nothing about judicial ethics, nothing about how to write judgments, nothing about how to conduct court proceedings.”

He then commented on the structure of commercial courts and arbitration.

“The system has not succeeded. If you want a productive economy, you have to have a forum to decide on commercial disputes. Until you have a robust system, nobody can invest. Where is the mechanism? Any possible commercial dispute should come under the reach of the Commercial Courts Act. So who is enforcing the law? The same judge doing the usual job.

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Speaking of arbitration – before a district judge, the judgment passed by the CJI is challenged. What is that poor fellow doing? he sits On it. Then there is an appeal to HC, an appeal to SC, so the whole arbitration thing won’t work for the court.

“The efficacy of the system needs serious serious consideration so that it becomes a vibrant one ”

Gogoi rebutted the argument that his appointment to the Rajya Sabha was a quid pro quo for delivering judgments in favour of the role of the BJP government in the cases of Rafale and Ayodhya.

If such an offer actually existed, anybody would settle for a Rajya Sabha seat, he rhetorically asked.

I figured I might do some constructive work in the Rajya Sabha. Would I look for a Rajya Sabha seat if I were to look for something?

If such an offer actually existed, anybody would settle for a Rajya Sabha seat, he rhetorically asked.

In the Rajya Sabha, I felt I was going to do some constructive work. If I were to look for anything, would I look for a Rajya Sabha seat?

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Give a man who has written these decisions this much credit that if he wants to bargain, he is going to make a decent bargain.

Give me too much credit here. Rajya Sabha is not a fruitful bargain. If it had been a deal, there would have been something bigger, not the seat of Rajya Sabha,” he said, adding that this was a “worthless subject.

When the anchor asked how he would fix the growing impression that his upper house appointment was a favour of return, Gogoi made an appeal to his own conscience.

“I don’t have to tackle anything. I have to tackle only my conscience. My conscience is clear. No amount of what others perceive bothers me ”

He added that he did not take a single penny from Parliament and stated in writing that he would not receive any remuneration for the duration of his Rajya Sabha.

He complained that this topic was not being addressed by the media and critics.

When the anchor sought his opinions on the public praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a Supreme Court judge (Justice MR Shah) at a recent public event, Gogoi replied:

“The comment should not have been made by the learned judge. It should have stayed with him if he had great respect for the Prime Minister. Beyond that I cannot answer anything”.

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Gogoi added, however, that the mere fact that such public praise has been rendered does not mean ‘quid pro quo’.

Fielding questions about the Assam NRC process, Gogoi said he had no regrets about spending time and energy in the case, although the parties who demanded it were not enthusiastic about the NRC list published in August 2019.

The Supreme Court bench, which set the time frame to complete the Assam NRC process, was headed by Justice Gogoi.

Only so much can be achieved and done by the court. (I have) no regrets. It (NRC) is a future document. Analyze it. What’s wrong with the NRC?”The court can only do so much and has done it.  What is wrong with NRC? Implement it.

He criticized the political parties played a “big game” with the NRC without displaying the actual will to enact it.


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July 2024


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