Ranganath Mishra
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha[1]
In office
21st Chief Justice of India
In office
25 September 1990 – 24 November 1991
Appointed byRamaswamy Venkataraman
Preceded bySabyasachi Mukharji
Succeeded byKamal Narain Singh
1st chairman National Human Rights Commission
In office
12 October 1993 – 24 November 1996
Governor of Odisha
In office
25 June 1982 – 31 August 1982
Preceded byCheppudira Muthana Poonacha
Succeeded byCheppudira Muthana Poonacha
Personal details
Born(1926-11-25)25 November 1926
Banapur, Bihar and Orissa Province, British India
Died13 September 2012(2012-09-13) (aged 85)
Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
Political partyIndian National Congress[2]
Alma materRavenshaw College
Allahabad University

Ranganath Mishra (25 November 1926 – 13 September 2012) was the 21st Chief Justice of India, serving from 25 September 1990 to 24 November 1991. He was also the first chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of India.[3] He also served as Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha from the Congress Party between 1998 and 2004. He is the second Supreme court judge to become a Rajya Sabha member after Baharul Islam who was also elected as Indian National Congress member.[4]

Background and family

Ranganath Misra was born on 25 November 1926 in Banapur, Odisha into an Odia Brahmin family. His father, Godavaris Mishra (sometimes spelt Godabarish Misra), was an Odia litterateur and congress politician who became education minister of Orissa state in 1941 while India was still under British rule. In this capacity, Godavaris was instrumental in the founding of Utkal University.

Ranganath was the youngest of three sons. His eldest brother, Lokanath Misra, was a prominent politician belonging to Swatantra Party (led by Rajaji) and later the Janata Party. He served for several terms as a member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Indian parliament) and also as governor of Assam and Nagaland. Loknath Misra's son, Pinaki Misra, is a Lok Sabha MP belonging to the Biju Janata Dal. Ranganath's second brother, Raghunath Misra, was a politician belonging to the Congress Party who was elected to the Orissa Legislative Assembly from the Banpur constituency. Raghunath's son, Dipak Misra was the 45th Chief Justice of India; he was in office from 28 August 2017 to 2 October 2018.

Ranganath studied at Banpur High School and P.M. Academy and later at Ravenshaw College and Allahabad University. At a young age, he was married to Sumitra Misra, a woman of his own community and similar background, in a match arranged by their families in the usual Indian way. In 1950, they had a son, Devananda Misra, who became a lawyer and a senior advocate in the Supreme Court and the Orissa High Court. In 2009, Misra and his wife suffered a tremendous personal loss with the death of their son, Devananda Misra, who died aged 59.

Legal career

On 18 September 1950, Misra got enrolled as advocate of Orissa High Court, Cuttack, where he practiced law until 1969, when he was appointed a Permanent Judge of the Orissa High Court. He served as the acting Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court from 6 November 1980 to 16 January 1981, and on the latter date, he took office as permanent Chief Justice of the Orissa High court. He was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of India in 1983. He became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India on 25 September 1990 and retired on 24 November 1991.

1984 anti-Sikh riots

Ranganath Misra was the sole member of the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission of Inquiry, a commission that headed the investigation of 1984 anti-Sikh riots and produced a report. Jagjit Singh Aurora, the former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian Army and a member of the Citizen's Justice Committee, commented that "The terms of reference of the commission were biased against the victims, the victims were forced to come to the investigation with the burden of proof on them".[5] He indicted 19 workers of the Congress Party who were charged by the People's Union for Civil Liberties of having abetted the riots, but gave clean chit to the Congress Party.[6][7]

Retirement and death

He served as the Chief Scout of the All India Boy Scouts Association since 1992.[8] He became the first Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of India in 1993. He was member of Rajya Sabha from 1998 to 2004 from the Congress Party headed by Sonia Gandhi.[9]

After prolonged illness, Ranganath Misra died on 13 September 2012 at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. He was survived by his wife Sumitra Misra and grandson Anand Misra.[10]


  1. ^ "Former CJI Ranganath Mishra Dead". Outlook. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  2. ^ "RAJYA SABHA MEMBERS BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 1952 - 2003" (PDF). Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Curtain Raiser for Foundation Day on October. 12, 2006". National Human Rights Commission (India). Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi nominated to Rajya Sabha, less than 6 months after retirement". Debayon Roy. ThePrint. 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Justice Mishra Commission report on 1984 anti-Sikhs riots may find few takers". India Today. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Rajiv's government set up one-member Justice Ranganath Misra Commission of Inquiry". India Today. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  7. ^ "The lessons of 1984". www.rediff.com. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Law Book Shop".
  9. ^ "Alphabetical List Of All Members Of Rajya Sabha Since 1952". Retrieved 30 December 2012. Misra Shri Ranganath Odisha INC 02/07/1998 01/07/2004
  10. ^ "Ranganath Misra passes away". The Hindu. 14 September 2012.
Legal offices Preceded bySabyasachi Mukharji Chief Justice of India 1990–1991 Succeeded byKamal Narain Singh
Preceded byCheppudira Muthanna Poonacha Governor of Odisha 25 June 1982 - 31 August 1982 Succeeded byCheppudira Muthanna Poonacha