Ranjan Gogoi, the outgoing Chief Justice of India, presided over Court No 1 of the Supreme Court for one last time this morning before he steps down from the position on Sunday. Court No 1 of the top court is the courtroom reserved for the Chief Justice of India. The CJI sat on the bench with CJI-designate SA Bobde for four minutes during which the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association expressed his gratitude on behalf of the association.
The Chief Justice, who took office in October last year, is also expected to visit Raj Ghat to pay his respects to Mahatma Gandhi; he had also visited the memorial after taking oath as the Chief Justice last year.
Also on the agenda for his last day in office is a video conference with 650 High Court judges and nearly 15,000 judicial officers from across the country.
Earlier today the Chief Justice, who received numerous requests from various media houses for a one-on-one interview, expressed his regret at being unable to acquiesce.
"...while you have the Bar whose members can exercise their freedom of speech to the extent of even pushing the boundaries of such freedom, the Bench requires its judges to 'maintain' silence, while exercising their freedoms," Chief Justice Gogoi, 64, said in a statement.
"This is not to say that judges do not speak. They do speak, but do so only out of functional necessity, and no more. Bitter truths must remain in memory," he added.
Chief Justice Gogoi said it is not required of the judges to react out to people through the media. "Rather, such outreach ought to be symbolic of an extraordinary situation, demanding an exception to the norm," he said.
On Monday, senior Supreme Court judges praised the CJI for his role in the landmark and unanimous verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute case. The decades-old case, which has long been a religious, social and political flashpoint in the country, was settled by a five-member Constriction bench headed by the Chief Justice.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took oath as the 46th Chief Justice of India on October 3, 2018, succeeding Justice Dipak Misra. He is the first person from the northeast to become Chief Justice.