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Celebrating the landmark Ayodhya verdict

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The recently launched memoirs of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the former Chief Justice of India, includes a photograph of him with the other judges of the Ayodhya Bench at a dinner in a luxury hotel in Delhi, captioned 'Celebrating the Landmark Ayodhya Verdict', the NDTV has reported.

In his book, Chief Justice Gogoi says: "In the evening (of delivering the verdict), I took the judges for dinner to Taj Mansingh Hotel. We ate Chinese food and shared a bottle of wine, the best available there. I picked the tab, being the eldest."

"Each of these judges have worked and worked and worked for four months (on the Ayodhya verdict). My judges and all of us worked so hard, we thought we will take a break," he told NDTV.

Tellingly, there were three interesting comments on the NDTV story about Ranjan Gogoi. On anonymous comment says: Shame on lame duck Indian judicial system. No party baring AAP wants to reform this system as they are afraid of their own crimes being exposed.

The second comment was: He will soon meet the same fate as the other yes man, who was rewarded with a custom made position called Chief of Defense Staff (General Bipin Rawat). All yes men, who think they can escape justice, will soon realize that they were totally wrong.

The third comment was: It was celebration of securing Rajya Sabha seat and other undeclared benefits to follow. The commentator is perhaps right because Justice Ranjan Gogoi was named to Rajiya Sabah (Upper House of Parliament) by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a move that has sent shockwaves through legal and political circles, Ranjan Gogoi was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha. A notification to this effect was issued on March 16, 2020.

Gogoi retired from the Supreme Court barely four months ago. This is the first time a government has used its power to nominate individuals for the Rajya Sabha to offer a post-retirement sinecure to a former Chief Justice of India.

What Ranjan Gogoi omits to say in his memoir?

Manu Sebastian, , the Managing Editor of LiveLaw, wrote a comment about Gogoi's book under the above title. Sabastian writes: "The controversy-ridden tenure of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the 46th Chief Justice of India, which was slowly fading away from the public memory, is now back in focus with Gogoi (now a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha) releasing an autobiography."

As its curious title "Justice For The Judge" suggests, Gogoi's 250-page memoir is essentially an attempt to salvage his legacy and reputation from public scandals and a lament about what he perceives as the unfair attacks on him by a "group", which he does not name or specify, Sebastian said adding: Gogoi gives a narration about the controversial judgments during his tenure, in what appeared to be an attempt of defense.

Five big Ranjan Gogoi verdicts that 'worked in favor of Modi govt'

While in the Supreme Court, Gogoi was part of several decisions that were seen to have worked out in favor of the Modi government one way or another, The Print said adding, it takes a look at five such judgments:

Ayodhya judgment

In November 2019, a bench led by CJI Gogoi sought to end a decades-old dispute over the ownership of a plot in Ayodhya while Hindus lay claim to the site as the birthplace of Lord Ram, Muslims see it as a place of worship because it hosted the Babri masjid until it was demolished by Hindu fundamentalists in 1992.

In its unanimous judgment, the court decreed the disputed land to infant deity 'Ram Lalla' while directing the central or state government to allot an alternative five-acre plot for the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya. The central government was asked to set up a trust within three months to help build the Ram Mandir.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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