President Ram Nath Kovind, exercising his power under article 80 (1) (a), on 16th of march, nominated former Chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha. This highly questionable move has since gathered a lot of criticism both from the opposition and the judiciary community. Justice Gogoi who sworn in as the 46th CJI, ended his term of 13 months and took retirement on November 17, 2019.
Days prior to his retirement, Justice Gogoi headed a five-judge bench and gave the verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case. In a unanimous decision the land was mandated for Ram Mandir and directed the government to allot a five-acre land for the construction of mosque. Many People felt that the judiciary took side of majority, just for not upsetting them while degrading the minority as a second-grade citizen in their own country. He was also responsible for monitoring the Assam NRC process and was under fire for defending the same. He headed a bench that dismissed all the petitions looking for a probe in the purchase of 36 Rafale jets by the central government and also gave a clean chit to the Modi government over the allegations on the said purchase.
Similar to his term where many of his judgements were greeted with criticism, the news of his nomination to the Rajya Sabha met with a similar fate.
While some questioned the independence of judiciary, some accused this nomination as a favoritism. Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, “I hope ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi would have the good sense to say ‘NO’ to the offer of Rajya Sabha seat to him. Otherwise he will cause incalculable damage to the reputation of the judiciary.” AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi questioned the decisions saying,” Is it ‘quid pro quo’? how will people have faith in the independence of the judges? Many questions.” Trinamool congress leader Mahua Moitra, who has always been a critical opponent of the ruling party was all against the nomination in her tweet,” Fmr CJI nominated to Rajya Sabha! Why am I not surprised? Any propriety, sir? He directed NRC exercise. Ram mandir in hurried hearings. Refusal to hear J&K habeas corpus. Immunity from law in own sexual harassment case. Politician or judge all along, ye greedy lord?”
While many dispraised the move, none was as strong and outspoken as what the retired supreme court judge Markandey Katju had to say. “I have been lawyer for 20 years and a judge for another 20. I have known many good judges and many bad judges but I have never known any judge in the Indian judiciary as shameless & disgraceful as the sexual pervert Ranjan Gogoi. There was hardly any vice that was not in this man.”
Regarding his nomination for the Rajya Sabha ,Justice Gogoi in an interview with Times Now said, “I don’t consider nomination to Rajya Sabha as post retirement employment, if there was a requirement there are various posts like chairman of law commission, NCLAT etc., it’s a service to the country to which one is called for by the president of India. You don’t refuse the president”.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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