Former Chief Justice of India and newly inducted Rajya Sabha member, Ranjan Gogoi, in an exclusive interview with Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami opened up on the allegations pertaining to his recent induction into the Upper House, the Rafale controversy and the historic Ayodhya land dispute verdict.
Notably, Gogoi gave judgment on several landmark cases, namely - Ayodhya dispute land case, review judgment in the Rafale case, contempt case against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, CJI office under RTI, Sabarimala review verdict, among others. He retired on November 17, after pronouncing the Ayodhya judgment.
Ranjan Gogoi's nomination in the Rajya Sabha brewed controversy, with the Opposition alleging a "Quid Pro Quo" and later staging a walkout amid the former CJI's oath-taking ceremony on Thursday. Speaking on the same, he said that he was unbothered by the walkouts, which has become a 'part and parcel' of the Parliament.
In addition, the ex-CJI refuting the claims of a Quid Pro Quo, said that certain section of the people were unhappy with him as a Supreme Court Judge or as a CJI. "What I saw in the house is what I felt and perceived in the court all along, basically - anti. Walkouts have become part and parcel of the Parliament. It doesn't bother me in the least."
"These comments don't bother me for the simple reason that if it would have been Quid Pro Quo, it would have been something else, not a Rajya Sabha seat. There is a certain section of the people, everybody knows them, perhaps they were not very happy with the way I dealt with them as the chief justice or judge of the Supreme Court. The entire judiciary, today, has come in the stranglehold of a handful of people. If the judgment is contrary to what they want, then it becomes controversial. Is it that only if you deliver judgments against the government that you are eligible?" he added.
Speaking about accepting the Presidential nomination, Rajya Sabha MP said, "There are certain moments in everyone's life that you have to take calls. My decision on the Presidential nomination stems from the belief that when the President asks, you don't say no."
The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Gogoi gave a clean chit to the PM Modi government over the allegations of mishandling of the Rafale deal, primarily levelled by the Congress party. The top court dismissed review petitions seeking an investigation into the purchase of the 36 jets from France's Dassault Aviation, courting controversy in December 2018.
Refusing to substantiate to the controversy, Gogoi responded saying, "Retired judges don't defend or explain their judgments. They only criticize the judgments of others. So, I can't defend my judgment." "I have no basis to substantiate. Rafale was a judgment that was unanimous by three judges and the reasons are there. The court did not find any evidence of any further inquiry and closed the case. If there was no prima facie case for further inquiry there could not be a case for the institution for FIR. That's the view that the two judges took. That judgment speaks for itself," he added.
Responding to the historic judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case, Justice Gogoi termed it as 'just another case' and said that it was 'bound to have some repercussion'. "The Ayodhya case was just another case that needed to be resolved. Given the magnitude of the documents, it took some time. We resolved it. It was a unanimous judgment," Justice Gogoi said.
"What effect it has had on a particular political party or a particular segment of the population all these things never come to the minds of a judge. He decides the case on the basis of the law and materials provided. A case of such magnitude was bound to have some repercussion and I hope this repercussion ends with me and not affect my fellow judges," he added.
Pronouncing the landmark judgment in the Ayodhya dispute case on November 9, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favour of building a Ram Temple in the disputed site. It said the entire disputed land spread over 2.7 acres will be handed over to a trust formed by the government, which will monitor the construction of Ram Temple at the site. The court had directed the government to give 5-acre land to Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque. Subsequently, the apex court has dismissed all 18 pleas demanding a review of its verdict.
Ranjan Gogoi- 46th Chief Justice of India is the son of former Assam Chief Minister Kesab Chandra Gogoi and completed his law from Delhi University. He was elevated as a judge in the Supreme Court on 23 April 2012 and subsequently succeeded then-CJI Dipak Misra on 3 October 2018. He retired from the Supreme Court on November 17 last year.