After President Ram Nath Kovind nominated former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha, criticisms poured in from all sides of the Opposition. Congress leader PL Punia while speaking with news agency ANI has called it an act of patronage of the government towards Gogoi alleging that the former CJI has given many verdicts in favour of NDA government.
“NDA government’s biggest weapon has been patronage and vengeance, they can go to any extent to use it. It is an unusual situation, he (Ranjan Gogoi) has recently given many verdicts in favour of NDA and immediately after that he has been nominated to Rajya Sabha; people who believe in the separation of judiciary from executive are surprised by this step. It shouldn’t have happened,” said Punia.
Besides Punia, Congress leader Kapil Sibal also questioned the nomination of ex-CJI in Rajya Sabha and accused Ranjan Gogoi of 'compromising the integrity of the institution'. Sibal took a jibe at Ranjan Gogoi and drew a comparison with Justice H R Khanna. Justice Khanna, who tilted the balance in a 7-6 majority that coined 'inviolability of basic structure of Constitution' in the Keshavananda Bharti judgment [1973 (4) SCC 225], became a beacon of judicial independence when he refused to bend before the Indira Gandhi government's reign during the Emergency.
Earlier, several other opposition leaders including Sitaram Yechury and Asaduddin Owaisi slammed the Centre over the nomination of justice Gogoi. Owaisi question if it was ‘Quid Pro Quo’ further raising questions how the independence of the judiciary will remain after the inclusion of a former judge into the legislative body. Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra in a bid to bash the ex-CJI, listed out the judgements given by Gogoi such as NRC, Ram Mandir, Article 370, delivering perhaps the biggest attack. She called the ex-CJI a “greedy lord” and asked if he was “Politician or judge all along?”
According to a notification issued by the Centre on Monday, the President has, under clause (1) of Article 80 of the Constitution, nominated the former CJI to fill the vacancy in Rajya Sabha due to the retirement of one of the nominated member. Gogoi had retired from the Supreme Court on November 17 after pronouncing the historic Ayodhya verdict. 51 seats in Rajya Sabha will fall vacant in April, five more in June, one in July, and 11 in November this year.