New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) and Rajya Sabha MP Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who gave the historic verdict on Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya, is again in news. The reason for this is his autobiography, in which he has written openly about the Ayodhya verdict, judiciary, sexual exploitation and relations with the government. Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Choudhary took an exclusive interview with Justice Gogoi. Excerpts from the interview.

Sudhir Choudhary: You were My Lord for 18 years and now people call you Mr Gogoi, MP Gogoi. How was this journey from My Lord to Mr Gogoi?

Justice Gogoi: This is the first time a journalist has asked me this question. Although Sudhir ji, I come less on TV but after writing the book, I have given two-three TV interviews. The reason for this is that I brought the book into the public domain. Many things were brought into the public domain and many may have many questions or questions. Therefore it is my duty to answer the questions through you. But many interviews start with Ayodhya or Rafale, Sexual Harassment, Rajya Sabha. You are the first, who said how was the phase of your life. I am very thankful for this question.

Sudhir Choudhary: Thank you, sir. We want to know you better and when you enter this life from my lord, that too must have been a change, which you must have also felt.

Justice Gogoi: In my book on the back side it is written Sudhir ji – essentially a family man is wanting something about, who has also kept a low profile away from the limelight.

Sudhir Chaudhary: And today you are in limelight.

Justice Gogoi: Limelight is not made just by saying My Lord. I have lived a very simple family life during the tenure of My Lord of 18-19 years and now I do not have any problem if My Lord is removed. Meeting people, attending public, giving speeches at meetings, I have no problem. I like it because I can walk freely among people, talk to them. This is a stage of life. There is another phase of life which is different. It is as important, as good.

Sudhir Choudhary: Are you feeling free in the post-My Lord era?

Justice Gogoi: No, it is not a matter of liberal feeling. I was always liberated. Even when there were judges, I was liberal. If you are still free then you are independent. By the way, I have not felt any special problems and changes.

Sudhir Chaudhary: I have this book of yours today. You have given its title, Justice for the Judge, now the judge gives justice to the people for the whole life. You have given justice to people throughout your life and from its title, it seems that now the judge is probably asking for justice?

Justice Gogai: No, no…no justice has been sought. This is the description in the book, through the book we are trying to reach out to the people. Look at your judges differently. Don’t judge your judges. Don’t look at the judge as a public servant or a politician. This judge’s position is slightly different. Those who sit in the judge’s chair have discipline. They don’t speak. You criticize a judge as much as you can, criticize their decisions, no matter how much mud you throw at his judgment, he does not speak. He doesn’t answer. A politician answers in a public forum. But the judge remains silent. This means that they are following judicial discipline, do not take advantage of it. Don’t take it as a weakness that you can say whatever you want to because if you do not look at it properly, then you are not only harming the judge, you are also harming the institution and the judicial system. This is the message in this book.

Sudhir Chaudhary: So I am adding a new question because you said so. Have you ever felt like this during your tenure? About you, your decisions are also published in the newspaper, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Mostly bad because the nature of media is to grab the negative points first, have you ever felt suffocated that you are not able to say anything?

Justice Gogoi: No, it has not happened. It is wrong to think about something which is not right for you to do, or you cannot do. Criticism of judgments is healthy as it gives the judge an opportunity to learn. It is important to know what is missing in which judgment, that is how judges grow, but what is happening in the media today, there are personal attacks, it is being said that such a judge has given such a judgment, because of this, it is wrong. This is the difference between the two. If you criticize the judgement, it is good for the system, but if you criticize the judge, it is not good for the system.

Sudhir Chaudhary: Justice Gogoi, judges usually don’t even write books after retirement.

Justice Gogoi: Sudhir ji, you said that I became Mr. Gogoi and you are calling me Justice Gogoi, see the habit of 18 years. How difficult is it for you? There is no difficulty for us. You call me Gogoi, call us by first name, call us Justice, we don’t care about that.

Sudhir Choudhary: I am feeling liberated actually, Ranjan ji. We would like to know from you that judges usually don’t even write books later but you decided to write your autobiography. Why did you decide that you will write your autobiography and tell your story to people?

Justice Gogoi: During my tenure, Sudhir ji, there was a lot of discussion on many issues, including my judgments also and these discussions were based on misinformation, half-truths and false facts according to me. This book is for those who want to know the true facts. People who already know the right facts without listening to my side, this book is not for them. This book is for those who want to know the right facts, this book has been written for them.

Sudhir Choudhary: You do not know how many judgments you must have given in your life, do not know how many long judgments you must have written, but what is the difference between writing a judgment and writing a book and how was this change for you? How was your experience watching this book after judgments and have you made it reader friendly?

Justice Gogoi: I did not know whether I could make my book reader friendly or not, I have tried but you see the last line of my book. See the last line of my book, page number 218, the last sentence on page 218.

Sudhir Chaudhary: “this has been my life, this is my story there are many other secrets opinion and sentiments that I may or may not take to my grave, only time will tell.”

Justice Gogoi: Writing a judgment is easy because the judge has no side, no opinion, no personal interest. The case is judged on facts. According to me, the easiest thing is to give judgment but the book and especially autobiography which is starting from my childhood, compressing 50 years from 1970 to 200 pages, remembering the events of 14 years old. The last line you have read and heard, the whole story is hidden in this, how difficult it is to write a book. I haven’t brought 100 secrets or facts of the whole 100 to you yet. There are many reasons, whether its facts will ever come out or not, I cannot say.

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