Talking to media for the first time after being nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the president, former chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that he has accepted the offer humbly. Talking to Assamese news channel Pratidin Time in Guwahati on Tuesday morning, Gogoi said that he was given ample time before taking the decision, and it was announced by the government after he had given his consent.
Responding to criticism by Congress party and others over his nomination, Ranjan Gogoi said that time has come to set a precedence. “I have accepted the offer of the nomination to the Rajya Sabha because of strong conviction, that the legislature and the Judiciary must at some point of time worked together for Nation-building,” he said.
The former CJI added, “My presence in Parliament will be an opportunity to project the views of the Judiciary before the legislature and vice versa,” responding to debates going on in social media over his nomination.
Ranjan Gogoi informed that he is going to Delhi tomorrow, and said that he will open up on the issue but first he will take the oath in Rajya Sabha. “I have much to say but let me take the oath in the Parliament and then I shall open up,” he said while talking to senior journalist Mrinal Talukdar during the interview. He also added, “let God give me the strength to have an independent voice in the Parliament.”
In the meanwhile, the attack on the BJP government over the decision continued with Gogoi’s fellow judges joining the criticism. Judges Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph today made comments opposing the move by the government and Ranjan Gogoi.
The nomination of ex-Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha has now come under the attack from his fellow Judges Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph. The two of them along with former CJI Gogoi and Justice J Chelameswar were part of the contentious press conference wherein they had questioned the alleged misconduct of then CJI Deepak Mishra in the allocation of important cases. An explosive letterwritten by the 4 Judges to the Chief Justice Mishra, several months ago, was also put out in public domain.
Justice Madan Lokur who retired in December 2018 remarked, “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?”
Justice (retired) Kurian Joseph said, “I am surprised as to how Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who once exhibited such courage of conviction to uphold the independence of the judiciary, has compromised the noble principles on the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary.”
He claimed that the Rajya Sabha nomination of the former Chief Justice has shaken the confidence of the common man on the “independence of the Judiciary” and thus compromised the “solid foundation of the nation.” Justice J Chelameswar, however, refused to comment on the new development.
It is imperative to remember that CJI Gogoi’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha is not “unprecedented” for two primary reasons. First, there are no constitutional restrictions that bar him from seeking employment, joining a political party or getting elected/nominated to the Indian Parliament. Second, India has a long history of judges becoming governors, contesting on the tickets of political parties, becoming Vice President and so on.