September 14, 2018 / 7:56 AM / 10 months ago

India appoints new chief justice critical of incumbent's record

FILE PHOTO: Ranjan Gogoi, a Supreme Court judge, gestures as he addresses the media at a news conference in New Delhi, India January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s Department of Justice said Supreme Court judge Ranjan Gogoi will become chief justice on Oct. 3, to succeed 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 based on Gogoi’s seniority, as per common practice.

But Gogoi was 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 the president of India after obtaining majority votes from at least two-thirds of the members of each house of parliament.

Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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