'Quid Pro Quo': Opposition Slams Ex CJI Ranjan Gogoi's Nomination to Rajya Sabha

Leaders from across opposition parties questioned the decision, saying it revealed how independent the judiciary under Gogoi really was.

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.

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.

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”.

Lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal questioned the legacy Gogoi is leaving behind.

The official Twitter handle of the Telangana Congress too questioned what Gogoi was being rewarded for.

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.

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.

Swaraj India leader and activist Yogendra Yadav claimed the judge was being “rewarded by his political master”.

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.