New Delhi: In addition to shock and dismay from senior members of the legal community, opposition leaders too have spoken out against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi being nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Gogoi was nominated to the Upper House by President Ram Nath Kovind, on the recommendation of the Narendra Modi government.
Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha said he hoped Gogoi would reject the nomination.
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.
— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) March 16, 2020
Communist Party of India (Marxist) head Sitaram Yechury recalled how Gogoi himself had criticised post-retirement gigs for judges in the past. “What must one make of a govt that does this, after appointing another ex-Chief Justice as the governor of a state?” he asked.
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? #Chronology
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) March 16, 2020
Several Congress leaders said the move proved that the judiciary is not, in fact, independent. National spokesperson and lawyer Jaiveer Shergill called it a “sad day”.
Appointment of Ex-CJI Gogoi to Rajya Sabha is a bad precedent, #attacks theory of “separation of powers” b/w executive,legislature & judiciary enshrined in the Constitution & sinister design to blatantly hijack independence of judiciary-Sad day for Justice System & Democracy!
— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) March 16, 2020
Lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal questioned the legacy Gogoi is leaving behind.
Justice H R Khanna remembered for :
1) his integrity
2)standing up to govt.
3) upholding rule of law
Ranjan Gogoi for
lapping up a Rajya Sabha nomination for
1) being saved by govt.
2) standing in line with it
3) compromising his own and the integrity of the institution
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) March 17, 2020
The official Twitter handle of the Telangana Congress too questioned what Gogoi was being rewarded for.
Pre-retirement judgements are influenced by a desire for a post-retirement job.
👉Judgement On Rafale
👉Reading Down Of Article 370
👉Removal Of Alok Verma As Director Of CBI
— Telangana Congress (@INCTelangana) March 16, 2020
All India Majlis-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi wondered whether this was quid pro quo – something that has been asked several times since last night, given that Gogoi headed benches in key cases that the same government which has nominated him had important political stakes in.
Is it “quid pro quo”?
How will people have faith in the Independence of Judges ? Many Questions pic.twitter.com/IQkAx4ofSf
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) March 16, 2020
Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra too brought up the many cases Gogoi had heard involving the government, and said she was “not surprised” by the development. She also asked whether the “greedy” former CJI had just been a politician all along.
Fmr CJI Gogoi 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? pic.twitter.com/af3IdhSf1a
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) March 16, 2020
Swaraj India leader and activist Yogendra Yadav claimed the judge was being “rewarded by his political master”.
Read this article to understand why Ranjan Gogoi has been rewarded by his masters.
Such a shame!https://t.co/WQVCzRNkQw
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) March 16, 2020
Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi retired from the Supreme Court barely four months ago. This is the first time that a government has nominated a CJI to the Upper House.
While this is not the first time a former CJI has become a member to Rajya Sabha, Justice Ranaganath Mishra, who retired from the position in 1992, became an MP in the upper house in 1998 on a Congress ticket but at a time when the Congress was not in power.
Even then, of course, his choice was controversial and seen as payback for having covered up the political culpability of senior Congress leaders in the 1984 massacre of the Sikhs as head of the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission. Earlier, he had been rewarded by the then Narasimha Rao government with chairmanship of the National Human Rights Commission.