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With ap­proach­ing polls and a pile-up of high-pro­file cases, the year ahead brings big chal­lenges for the new CJI Ran­jan Go­goi

The dy­nam­ics within the col­legium of top five judges is all set to change. After the cri­sis of trust amongst judges came out in the open at the his­toric press con­fer­ence of top judges and with the Modi govern­ment de­fy­ing the court rec­om­men­da­tions on ju­di­cial ap­point­ments, the col­legium needs to speak in one voice. All eyes are on how CJI Go­goi re­sponds to the chang­ing com­po­si­tion and chem­istry and finds a last­ing so­lu­tion RAN­JAN GO­GOI Oct—Nov 2019 Court­room 1

With judges re­tir­ing from and join­ing the SC, the CJI will need to work with seven judges in 13 months. Two of the like-minded judges, present at the press con­fer­ence, will re­tire; a few, at whom the rebel judges had pointed a fin­ger, will en­ter; a few more will be­come chief jus­tices later. There is too much at stake for ev­ery­one. No one will rock the boat, say court­watch­ers

JUS­TICE MADAN B LOKUR Oct—Dec 2018 Court­room 2

He was at the Jan­uary 12 press con­fer­ence and will re­tire on De­cem­ber 30. He is known for en­er­getic ded­i­ca­tion to­wards sav­ing the Taj Ma­hal, lib­eral val­ues, for tak­ing the bu­reau­cracy to task, and ques­tion­ing the govern­ment for not fill­ing va­can­cies. He is also known for up­hold­ing child rights and the right to food

JUS­TICE KURIAN JOSEPH Oct—Nov 2018 Court­room 3

He was at the press con­fer­ence. With his term end­ing on Novem­ber 30, the CJI will lose a pow­er­ful voice on the in­de­pen­dence of ju­di­ciary and the Cen­tre’s in­ac­tion on col­legium rec­om­men­da­tions. He has spo­ken against postre­tire­ment ben­e­fits to judges and ‘tin­ker­ing with ju­di­cial dis­ci­pline’ among his peers; he is also known for his role in hear­ings on the coal scam, in­de­pen­dence of the CBI, and triple ta­laq

JUS­TICE A.K. SIKRI Oct—Mar 2019 Court­room 4

He en­tered the col­legium after Jus­tice J. Che­lameswar’s re­tire­ment in June; is known for his gen­tle de­meanour. After the four­judge re­volt, it was be­lieved that he would be nom­i­nated as the next CJI in­stead of Jus­tice Go­goi. In July, he had as­serted the supremacy of the CJI over the col­legium in re­sponse to a PIL; he wrote the ma­jor­ity ver­dict on Aad­haar

JUS­TICE SHARAD ARVIND BOBDE Oct—Nov 2019 Court­room 5

Due to be­come CJI after Jus­tice Go­goi. Known to be tight-lipped but also ex­er­cises a per­sua­sive in­flu­ence on his peers. Pre­cisely why he was ap­proached by the Bar Coun­cil to speak to Jus­tice Che­lameswar after the press con­fer­ence. A spe­cial­ist in ad­min­is­tra­tive, en­vi­ron­men­tal and elec­tion laws, he was part of the bench that or­dered that no In­dian cit­i­zen with­out Aad­haar could be de­prived of govern­ment ben­e­fits

JUS­TICE N.V. RA­MANA Dec—Nov 2019 Court­room 6

With a ten­ure of eight years in the SC, he is in line to be the 48th CJI from April 2021, after Jus­tice Bobde. He was praised for the judg­ment, along with Jus­tice Go­goi, that held women could be­come kar­tas of joint fam­i­lies. Has weath­ered a storm of al­le­ga­tions of “un­war­ranted in­ti­macy” with Andhra Pradesh CM Naidu and hav­ing a crim­i­nal record for ri­ot­ing in his youth

JUS­TICE A.K. MISHRA Jan—Nov 2019 Court­room 7

A deeply re­li­gious man, who sports a strict de­meanour. He was caught in the cross­fire of the judges of the SC in Jan­uary. Sen­si­tive cases are as­signed to him, no­tably the probe into the death of spe­cial CBI court judge B.H. Loya, by former CJI Misra. A late un­cle was an ac­tive mem­ber of the BJP, ex­plain­ing the close ties his fam­ily en­joys with top politi­cians

JUS­TICE ROHINTON FALI NA­RI­MAN Apr—Nov 2019 Court­room 8

He is the fifth Supreme Court judge to be el­e­vated di­rectly from the Bar; has been on con­sti­tu­tion benches de­liv­er­ing land­mark de­ci­sions—from free­dom of speech to triple ta­laq, adul­tery to Sabari­mala. He is mon­i­tor­ing the NRC in As­sam with CJI Go­goi. A great be­liever in fra­ter­nity, he said, “How will there be unity among us un­less we first learn to frater­nise? Fra­ter­nity is a car­di­nal value of our Con­sti­tu­tion”

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