Outgoing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday asked judges across the country to "deal with new challenges" that "arise from within and outside" the court. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who last week gave a historic verdict on the decades-old Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute, addressed high court and trial court judges in a video conference on Friday that also served as a farewell speech before he retires on Sunday. Chief Justice of India-designate SA Bobde is taking over.
"As an Institution, we have tried to deliver much more than what is reasonably possible, yet, today each of us is required to deal with new challenges, which unfortunately arise from within and outside of our court complexes and our judicial processes," Chief Justice Gogoi said.
"Within our court complexes, there is an increasing indifference to the decorum and discipline that were always the hallmark of our institution. Sadly, such indifference lies more among some of the stakeholders who are part of the justice delivery infrastructure, yet are completely indifferent to its health and progress..." he said.
"...The indifference of such stakeholders to the dignity of our institution has reached new lows in the recent past, as rank hooliganism and intimidatory behaviour has become the order of the day in some pockets of our court system. This has to be acknowledged, so that its vicious designs are defeated and the glory of our institution stands uncompromised," Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said in his video speech.
The outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice's message on keeping guard against "rank hooliganism" comes a week after clashes broke out between policemen and lawyers at a court in Delhi over parking space.
Videos of lawyers engaged in pitched battles on the streets with policemen were shared widely on social media, drawing criticisms from political leaders and the public over what they saw as complete breakdown of law and order on the court premises.
"I would say that the time has come that the high courts shake off the sense of any inertia and play an active part as the true guardian of all court complexes under their jurisdiction as well as of the judicial process, besides safeguarding the well-being of our judges and the magistrates there," Chief Justice Gogoi said.
Chief Justice Gogoi took oath as the 46th Chief Justice of India on October 3, 2018, succeeding former Chief Justice Dipak Misra. He is the first person from the northeast to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.