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India appoints chief justice who criticised predecessor’s record

Appointment is in line with chief justice Misra’s recommendation based on Gogoi’s seniority

New Delhi: India’s Department of Justice said Supreme Court judge Ranjan Gogoi will become chief justice on October 3, succeeding retiring Dipak Misra who has been the target of unprecedented criticism this year from politicians and judges, including Gogoi.

The appointment is in line with Misra’s recommendation this month on Gogoi’s seniority, as per common practice.

But Gogoi was also one of four Supreme Court judges who, in January, publicly aired concerns about judicial appointments and the distribution of cases under Misra’s leadership.

In April, lawmakers from seven opposition parties petitioned to impeach Misra, accusing him of failing to protect the independence of the judiciary from executive interference and arbitrarily using his power to allot sensitive cases.

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu rejected the petition, saying the allegations were “neither tenable nor admissible”.

A Supreme Court judge can be removed for misbehaviour or incapacity only by order of a president whose party holds a majority in both houses of parliament, and after obtaining at least two-thirds of votes from house members in a single session.

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