Itâs certainly looking like a busy, bittersweet week ahead for ex-Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. This Monday, he was nominated for a seat at the Rajya Sabha by none other than President Ram Nath Kovind - amidst widespread accusations of partisanship hurled from opposition politicians and media platforms.
Â© Reuters; Police detain protestors in May 2019, who had assembled to demonstrate after a sexual harassment allegation against Gogoi was dismissed by a chair headed by Justice Bobde, who succeeded Gogoi as Chief Justice.
Itâs a symbolic move in more ways than one. President Kovind had been a practicing lawyer for 16 years before entering politics, and had his own 1994-2006 stint in the Rajya Sabha. Concurrently, Gogoi took a slightly different path, forging a 42-year long career through the trenches of Indiaâs courtrooms. Here are a few details that most donât know about the 46th Chief Justice.
Â© DNA India
Looks like the legacy goes even further back than Ranjan Gogoi himself. On his maternal side, the judge can trace his lineage back to Prandar Singha, the last king of the Ahom kingdom of Assam. The dynasty itself is incredibly old, dating back to the early 1200s - it lasted for over 600 years before collapsing under festering internal politics, attacks from Burmese invaders and finally, fell into British rule in 1826.
Â© Assam Times
In a 2018 interview with The Times Of India, Ranjan Gogoiâs elder brother Anjan Kumar Gogoi opened up about his childhood with the ex-CJI. Narrating a particular episode from their youth, he displayed a penchant for mischievousness that might have ended up changing his brotherâs life. âWe both were selected to join Sainik School Goalpara (A top-quality military boarding school) but our father said that only one of us could go and asked to decide for ourselves who would stay back. We decided to toss a coin, and being naughty, I used the famous line, heads I win, tails you lose. I won. Maybe had he gone to the Sainik School, he could have achieved greater heights than meâ¦he was far better in studies than me.â While Ranjan was destined for law, Anjan went on to become an IAF fighter pilot, retiring from the air force as an Air Marshall.
Â© Assam Times
Despite his recent allegations, ex-Justice Gogoi had strong roots in honesty, according to his elder brother. âYou canât possibly predict what can happen to you in the future but one thing I can tell as an elder brother that since childhood he (Justice Gogoi) showed indications that he treads only on the right path. I still remember when playing a game of marble, I, as the elder brother and somewhat naughty, tried to cheat. He would always challenge my game and tell me not to break the rules. From the very beginning, he always followed the right path and rules. When he took up law, I knew he would make a good lawyer, who would not take any false case just for the sake of practicing law. When he became a judge, I knew he would be a good judge,â the ex-fighter pilot said.
Later on in his youth, Gogoi would be given an ultimatum by his father, Kesab Chandra Gogoi who was a politician himself - to crack the UPSC examinations. Putting aside his latent interest in law and history, Gogoi reinforced his reputation as a keen academic by cracking the UPSC exam and on presenting his father with the results, politely said that he would rather prefer to become an advocate instead. Soon, he graduated with honors in history from St. Stephenâs college, before earning his law degree from Delhi University.
Gogoiâs introduction to advocacy began in 1978, when he passed the bar and began to practice at the Gauhati High Court. After 23 years, he was made a permanent Judge of the same, and then appointed to the Punjab and Haryana High Courts in 2010 by then-President Pratibha Patil. He quickly rose to the position of Chief Justice there, and by 2012 was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court. Six years later in 2018, he would succeed Dipak Misra as the Chief Justice of India.Amitabh Bachchanâs Kaun Banega Crorepati Tax Case
While Gogoi has presided over several landmark cases, one of his more unusual ones revolves around none other than Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan. Way back in 2002, Bachchan filed tax returns showing an income of Rs 14.99 crore, yet the tax authorities determined that his income was Rs 56.41 crore and filed a lawsuit against the actor. The Bombay High Court dismissed the tax officials in 2012, but Gogoi and his bench quashed the dismissal in 2016. Guess he wasnât a fan.
An ex-Chief Ministerâs Son
Â© Assam Legislative Assembly
Ranjan Gogoiâs aforementioned father Kesab Chandra never got to see his son become a judge, dying just three years too early. Regardless, he did make a pretty bold impact on Assam as a politician with the Indian National Congress - the very rivals of the figures that have backed Gogoi Jr. in contemporary