Sticking to the convention of the senior-most judge succeeding the incumbent CJI, the President has approved the appointment of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India. He will be sworn in by the President on 3 October, after current CJI Dipak Misra retires.
As per convention, the outgoing Chief Justice sends the recommendation for who should be his successor 30 days before he is to demit office. The Ministry of Law & Justice has to then forward the recommendation to the Prime Minister, who advises the President about it. The President then needs to approve the recommendation, after which the new CJI is sworn in.
The Union Law Ministry had written to Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra requesting him to forward the name of the judge who will succeed him upon his retirement on 2 October. CJI Misra replied with Justice Gogoi’s name on 4 September.
The move comes after months of speculation in legal circles over whether Justice Ranjan Gogoi (the next in line according to seniority) could be superseded when current CJI Misra retires on 2 October 2018. Justice Gogoi was one of the four Supreme Court judges who held an unprecedented press conference in January 2018, raising concerns about the administration of the Supreme Court and the independence of the judiciary.
Rumours that his involvement in the press conference had earned the ire of the central government had become so prominent that Union Minister for Law and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad was openly asked about it at a recent press conference.
Prasad’s answer to the question was:
There was no reason to doubt the intention of the government. There is a convention in place and let CJI forward the name of his successor and then the government would discuss on it. [sic]