Justice Ranjan Gogoi : Know your Judges

Justice RanjanGogoi


Justice RanjanGogoi is a judge of the Supreme Court of India. His father Keshab Chandra Gogoi was a former Chief minister of Assam. He is the senior most judge of the Apex Court, after the CJI and is the next in the Hierarchy of the CJI list. 

Early Life and career

Justice Ranjan was born on 18th November 1954 in Assam. He is the son of the Former Chief Minister of Assam Late Mr. Keshab Chandra Gogoi and Late Mrs. Shanti PriyaGogoi. He is also the brother of Former Air Field Marshal, AnjanGogoi. Justice Gogoi did his bachelors in humanities and then LLB from the Government College of Assam and then was enrolled at the Bar in 1978, wherein he pleaded in the Guwahati High Court.

From a 22 years experienced pleader to Guwahati High Court, Justice Gogoi was made the permanent Judge to the same on 28th February 2001. After 10 years of being a judge to Guwahati High Court, he was transferred to Punjab and Haryana High Court on 9th September 2010. Further on 12th February 2011, he was made the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Subsequently on 23rd April 2012, he was elevated to the Apex Court for a tenure of 7 years and is now to become the next Chief Justice of India.

Landmark Judgments

Justice Gogoi has been a part of various Landmark Judgments in the Judicial History of the Nation. Some of his most known judgments include-

1. Reliance Communication

A bench led by Justice RanjanGogoi, dismissed the appeal of Reliance Communication, challenging the Gujarat government’s demand notices seeking to levy Rs 13-crore property tax on cell towers and telecom equipment installed on rooftops and building terraces in the state.[1]

2. Coconut Oil Packaging

In the case on whether coconut oil packaged in “small containers” be classified as edible oil or hair oil for the purpose of taxation, the Supreme Court Bench of Justice RanjanGogoi and R Banumati were unable to arrive at a consensus to put this issue to rest. According to Justice Gogoi, Coconut oil would fall under the category of edible oil regardless of the size of its packaging. According to Justice Banumathi coconut oil, when it is packaged in small containers, would be classified as hair oil, regardless of whether it has been labelled as edible oil by the manufacturers.[2][3]

3. Arbitration

A bench of Justice RanjanGogoi and Justice R Banumathi, has observed that in the absence of arbitration agreement, the court can refer parties to arbitration only with written consent of parties either by way of a joint memo or joint application and not on oral consent given by their counsel.[4]

4. Kanhaiya Kumar

The Supreme Court bench led by Justice RanjanGogoi dismissed a petition seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the incidents of attacks on then JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar.[5]

5. Sowmya Rape and Murder case

The Supreme Court led by Justice RajanGogoi, acquitted Govindachami alias Govindaswamy, the accused in the rape and murder of Soumya, of Murder charges and set aside the sentence of death awarded by the Trial Court.[6]In the ruling, the SC held that

“The intention of the accused in keeping the deceased in a ‘supine position’, according to P.W. 64, was for the purposes of the sexual assault. The requisite knowledge that in the circumstances such an act may cause death, also, cannot be attributed to the accused”[7]

6. Prosecution of Justice (retd) MarkandeyKatju

 A SC bench led by Justice RajanGogoi decided to convert that blog by Justice MarkandeyKatju into a review petition and asked him to personally appear in court to debate.[8]The Court then dictated the order rejecting the review petition and issued contempt of court notice to him stating that “Prima facie, the statements made seem to be an attack on the Judges and not on the judgment”.[9] However the apology letter of J. Katju was accepted and the proceedings were subsequently called off.

7. LokAyukta

A Bench led by Justice RanjanGogoi is hearing a PIL seeking appointment of Lokpal and Lokayuktas at the Centre and in states as provided for in the central legislation passed in 2013.[10]


Author : Devansh Saraswat

[8]“SC to Katju: Join the Soumya case hearing”. thehindu.com. Retrieved 2016-10-19.