In a sharp reaction to the nomination of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha, former SC judge Justice Kurian Joseph on Tuesday stated that the confidence of the common man in the independence of judiciary had been shaken. He observed that the decision taken by the former CJI was surprising because he had exhibited the courage to uphold the independence of the judiciary in the past. According to Justice (retd.) Joseph, Gogoi had compromised the “noble principles” such as the impartiality of the judiciary.
Justice (retd.) Kurian Joseph remarked, “Acceptance of Rajya Sabha nomination by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has certainly shaken the confidence of the common man in the independence of the judiciary, which is also one of the basic structures of the Constitution of India." He added, “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.”
Justice (retd.) Joseph is a former colleague of Ranjan Gogoi. Along with Justices Chelameswar and Lokur, they held an unprecedented press conference in January 2018 questioning the conduct of the then CJI Dipak Misra. They raised issues such as the allocation of important cases in the Supreme Court. On that occasion, Ranjan Gogoi had remarked that they had discharged their debt towards the nation.
Gogoi, the 46th CJI is the son of former Assam CM Kesab Chandra Gogoi. In his tenure lasting a little over 13 months, Gogoi delivered key judgments in cases such as the Ayodhya land dispute, the Rafale deal, contempt case against former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Sabarimala review verdict. He retired on November 17, 2019. Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde succeeded him as the next CJI. On Monday, President Ram Nath Kovind nominated him to the Rajya Sabha to fill the vacancy caused due to the retirement of senior advocate KTS Tulsi.
Out of Rajya Sabha’s total strength of 250 members, the President of India has the power to nominate 12 individuals having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art and social service. While nominated members enjoy all the powers, privileges and immunities available to fellow parliamentarians, they cannot vote in the election of the President. Moreover, a nominated member is given a period of 6 months to decide whether he wants to join a political party.