The former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took oath as a Rajya Sabha member amid a lot of controversies and unprecedented scenes of sloganeering and a walkout staged by several opposition leaders, except for Samajwadi Party (SP). The lobby also comprised of DMK, MDMK and Muslime league.
In an exclusive chat with Republic Media Network, the former CJI hit out at the lobby and stated that he was 'attacked' while he was in the judiciary and also now while he is at the Rajya Sabha. Ranjan Gogoi has found defence in the former Additional Solicitor General of India, Sidharth Luthra who came out in his support.
The senior Supreme Court lawyer said, “We have the Constitution-makers or the forefathers of the Constitution permitting the nomination of the Rajya Sabha by the President of India. The Constitution also allows the nomination of the members of the legislative councils wherever it exists, to the Rajya Sabha. We also have a number of posts, avenues not only for judges but also for government servants. For instance, all the tribunals, in CAT you have one non-judicial member, one administrative member, senior bureaucrats. So we have in law and the Constitution recognised that there are going to be post-retirement jobs for a certain category of people based on their qualifications. According to me, while people hold such posts and then continue to hold such posts, it is not appropriate to single out one individual because everybody who takes a post-retirement or job with the government takes it because of their expertise or their knowledge and it can't be questioned.”
He further added that “It's a matter of an individual's personal choice whether whatever he or she accepts is in consonance with the office he or she has held in the past. It's really a personal choice issue. I must also clarify on the talks going on that there should have been a cooling-off period, but again the constitution doesn't provide a cooling-off period for nomination to the Rajya Sabha. On one hand, the legal profession which enables the appointment of people belonging to different categories be it a jurist, we have that provision. Does that mean that the appointment is bad? According to me, legally no. The morality of it is a matter of an individual's choice and his or her conscience.”