Strong reaction and outrage after President nominates CJI(Rtd) Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha

Two months after Govt appointed his brother a non-official member of North Eastern Council, the President of India nominated former CJI Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha just four months after he retired

Strong reaction and outrage after President nominates CJI(Rtd) Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha

NH Web Desk

The last time a retired Chief Justice of India was ‘elected’ to the Rajya Sabha was in 1998. Ranganath Mishra had retired in 1992 and the Congress, which was in the opposition in 1998, fielded him for the Rajya Sabha.

But the Bharatiya Janata Party, which ironically favours a cooling period before retired judges are appointed to tribunals, has recommended Justice Gogoi for Presidential nomination barely four months after he stepped down.

Reactions to the nomination have been sharp. His former colleague Justice (retired) Madan B Lokur told The Indian Express: “There has been speculation for some time now about what honorific would Justice Gogoi get. So, in that sense the nomination is not surprising, but what is surprising is that it came so soon. This redefines the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary. Has the last bastion fallen?”

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “ Shri Ranjan Gogoi had himself said last year that "There’s a strong viewpoint that post-retirement appointments is a scar on independence of Judiciary". What must one make of a govt that does this, after appointing another ex-Chief Justice as the governor of a state?

Others on Twitter also took a swipe and asked, “ Did the Rajya Sabha nomination arrive in a sealed envelope?”

Constitutional law expert and lawyer Gautam Bhatia tweeted, “ It took a while for what was implicit to become evident, but the independent judiciary is now - officially - dead.

Another senior Advocate Dushyant Dave told The Wire, “This is totally disgusting, a clear reward in quid pro quo. The semblance of independence of the judiciary is totally destroyed.”

Chief Justice (Rtd) Gogoi’s controversial tenure was marked by several contentious decisions.

1. He encouraged and allowed the Government to produce ‘evidence’ in its support in sealed envelopes.

2. He allowed day-to-day hearing on the Ayodhya dispute and the bench headed by him handed over the disputed site to the community which had destroyed the Babri mosque.

3. He headed the Bench which dismissed the Rafale petition and most other petitions that challenged government decisions.

4. He presided over a Bench that he himself set up to look into sexual harassment allegations against himself.

5. He supported and steered the exercise to prepare a National Register of Citizens in Assam, which now nobody in Assam accepts, including the BJP.

6. He called NRC a ‘base document’ for future’ and held that the number of people rendered stateless didn’t matter.

7. He supported the lockdown in Kashmir, refused to hear petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 urgently and mocked Iltija Mufti when she asked to meet her mother, asking: “Why do you want to move around, it is very cold in Srinagar.”

8. On the lynching cases of Muslims, he remarked that the issue did not merit urgent hearing.

The Modi Government had appointed another retired Chief Justice of India, P. Sathasivam, Governor of Kerala. But another retired CJI, T.S. Thakur, declined the offer made by Aam Aadmi Party to send him to the Rajya Sabha in 2017.

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