Justice Gogoi, CJ Designate of India: Create an equal, free society!

 

Krishnadas Rajagopal

The Hindu

 October 01, 2018 

 

Cover Image: Chief Justice of India Designate Justice Ranjan Gogoi (left) and outgoing CJI Dipak Misra during a farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association for the retiring CJI, in New Delhi on Monday, October 1, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

 

Note:  Partisan or group interests like what we wear, eat, say, believe, read and think are dividing and cutting the nation to pieces. They all must be subordinated to constitutional morality which alone can keep the  nation united and lead it to peace and prosperity, is the message from the New Chief Justice of India.

 

That does not mean we have to give up our legitimate personal preferences. What is to be avoided our extreme tendencies like ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’ which can only make a blind and toothless nation, according to Gandiji’s thinking.  Therefore all of us, irrespective of class, caste and creed should  listen to his wise counsel. james kottoor, editor ccvc.

 

The CJI-designate was speaking at the farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association for the retiring Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra  

 

What we wear, eat, say, read and think are no longer “small and insignificant” questions about our personal lives. They have become issues which “cut and divide us.” They make us hate and despise those who are different, Chief Justice of India-designate Justice Ranjan Gogoi said on Monday in the Supreme Court.

 

He was speaking at the farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for the retiring Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

 

Justice Gogoi, who will take over on October 3 as India’s 46th Chief Justice of India and the first top judge from Assam, argued for the creation of a community that is unified in the values of equality, liberty and dignity enshrined in the Constitution.

 

“Belonging to this community does not mean we give up who we are, our personal beliefs and tastes. Instead, it means that we constantly evaluate these beliefs on the touchstone of constitutional morality.”

 

“Wherever there is doubt and conflict, we must allow constitutional morality to prevail. This is the true patriotism to the Constitution,” Justice Gogoi said.

 

If the nation does not endeavour to realise the vision of the Constitution, “we will continue to hate, despise and kill each other.”

 

“It is perhaps trite to suggest that we live in times of great political churning across the world. Today alongside a huge diversity of thought and opinion, there co-exists conflicting world views. We are divided, perhaps more than ever by lines of class, caste, religion, gender and ideology,” Justice Gogoi said.

 

He said the vision of a unified community lies within the pages of our Constitution. He quoted Dr. B.R. Ambdekar’s “I feel that the Constitution is workable, it is flexible and it is strong in peacetime and in wartime. If I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.”

 

Gatekeepers of justice

Justice Gogoi said profound constitutional questions cannot be separated from the politically salient issues of the times. It is precisely in difficult times like this that our “resilience to our commitment is tested.”

 

“Surely, we do not think that the constitutional text has ready-made answers, but we do believe that it offers the principles and procedures through which we can construct answers suitable to our times.”

 

Justice Gogoi reminded those around him that history was the “harshest judge of all.” “You and I are the gatekeepers of justice,” Justice Gogoi said.

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