DNA Exclusive: Became punching bag because I came from North East, says former CJI Ranjan Gogoi | India News


New Delhi: India’s former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who made headlines for his historic ‘Ram Janmabhoomi’ verdict and sexual harassment allegations, said that he was targeted because of his Northeastern origin.

In an exclusive interview with Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary, former CJI Gogoi, who is now a member of parliament, said, “After Ayodhya verdict, I was not treated as a poster boy, I became the punching bag because I came from the North East. I felt targeted because of my origin.”

Parliamentarian Gogoi, who has recently released his autobiography named “Justice for the Judge” talked to Zee media about his book and its message.

In the book, the former judge shed light on the landmark events of his life like Rafale deal controversy, sexual harassment charges against him, Ram Janmabhoomi verdict and his political career.

Gogoi said, “I want people to know that a judge is very different from a politician, his work is different. The office that a judge holds needs a decorum and that’s why judges do not indulge in any public debates.”

“Judges are not some public servant or politician who should be criticised in the public domain. People must understand the dignity of this position and behave in a certain manner. They should not judge a judge is the message I want to convey through my book,” Gogoi added.

On being asked about the media coverage on judges and the judicial system these days, Gogoi said, “It’s not wrong to criticise a judgment, it gives the institution an opportunity to learn and grow. However, these days we witness selective criticism in media based on the judge who delivered the verdict.”

“If media criticises the judgment, it’s good for the system but if you criticise a judge, it’s harmful to the society,” Gogoi added.

Gogoi also shared his views on the controversial press conference he conducted with some of his colleagues during CJI Deepak Misra’s tenure.

“I don’t regret that conference, though I accept I did not know the kind of coverage it was going to get but I meant what I said. When a CJI is not ready to allocate PIL on the basis of seniority, we don’t have the alternative,” Gogoi said.

On the historic Ayodhya verdict and the ‘celebration’ controversy that followed, Gogoi said, “We were a bench of judges and we worked day and night for months on this judgement. We ate together and spent time together. We were exhausted.”

“Once the judgement was finalised, we thought of giving ourselves a day’s break and we celebrated, there’s nothing more to it. It was just a break from work for a few over-exhausted judges.”

On being asked about the allegations of pressure related to the Ayodhya verdict, Gogoi said, “Even if we assume that there was some influence on me but what about the other four judges who comprised the bench? Were they influenced too?”

“It’s a loose and irresponsible allegation and such statements can damage the integrity of this great and prestigious institution,” said Gogoi.

Gogoi also addressed the questions about the sexual harassment allegation against him and that he influenced the judgement.

He said, “On April 23, I handed over this matter to CJI Bobde and the committee was approved with the approval of the full quota of the SC judges and they delivered the verdict afterwards.”

“I gave Justice Bobde my head on a silver platter and a rope to hang me”, he added.

The former justice also added that the sexual allegation period was extremely hard for him and his family and he will take the memory of that time to his grave.

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Author: Shirley