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Outgoing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has intimated that he would not be giving any one-to-one press interviews in the near future, in a detailed press release dated November 15.
In his statement, CJI Gogoi has expressed his disinclination to give personal interviews, given his view that judicial functionaries should limit their interactions with the press to symbolic or extraordinary situations. It states,
“As a public functionary, entrusted with onerous Constitutional duties to discharge, the idea of courting the press never endeared itself as a choice in the interest of my Institution. I chose to belong to an institution whose strength lay in public confidence and trust earned not through good press, but through our work as Judges on the bench. In fact, our workplaces are, by our functional necessity, required to be public places as Justice is ordained to be delivered in presence of ordinary citizens to ensure that it is never far removed from them. In that view, our institutional connect and interface with the citizenry is proximate.
It is not the requirement of our Institution, for Judges to reach to our citizenry through the press.- rather, such outreach out to be symbolic of an extra-ordinary situation demanding an exception to the norm. I have always soldiered to strengthen our institutional values, and as part of such discourse I would not be able to meet your request for a one-to-one meet. “
While speaking about the need for judges to exercise restraint in exercising their freedoms, CJI Gogoi also has stated that “bitter truths must remain in memory”.
“The Bench requires its Judges to ‘maintain’ silence, while exercising their freedoms. This is not to say that Judges do no speak. They do speak but do so only out of functional necessity, and no more. Bitter truths must remain in memory.”
All the same, the Judge also makes a note to laud the “maturity and character” displayed by the most of the press during his tenure as CJI, in preventing canards and falsehood from clogging the new space during trying times, when the judicial institution was keeping an ambush or two at bay. In this regard, CJI Gogoi has written,
“…I do wish to put on record that by and large, the press corps has been kind to my office as well as to our institution during my tenure at the helm of the institution. Even during trying times, when our Institution was keeping an ambush or two at bay, most of the Press displayed maturity and character, and exercised exceptional discretion to prevent canards and falsehood from clogging the news space. To me, those were the times when the stellar role of journalists, as defenders of truth and democratic ideals came to the fore. I am certain the my inability to join you for a one-to-one meet would be accepted with dignity that you may deem it deserves.“
He has signed off his letter on the following note,
“Needless to say, once I am well into retirement, I will look forward to meeting you to talk about things of mutual interest.”
Friday marks the last working day for Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who will retire from office on November 17. Prior to his being appointed the Chief Justice, Gogoi was one of four senior judges who held an unprecedented press conference in January 2018, to express concern over the manner in which sensitive cases were being listed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
[Read CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s Statement]