Talking to the media outside Parliament on Tuesday, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale lauded the nomination of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha. Highlighting Gogoi’s legal acumen, Athawale reckoned that the Congress party was unnecessarily commenting on the issue. He opined that the former CJI’s vast experience will be very useful in the Rajya Sabha.
Ramdas Athawale remarked, “Ranjan Gogoi was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He had retired a few days ago. Keeping in mind his experience- he has been a very big judge, his study of the law is very good, I feel that the appointment of Ranjan Gogoi is a very good thing. I feel that there is no need for the Congress party to comment on this.”
He added, “He got the opportunity to serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I welcome him after being appointed by the Narendra Modi government. His experience will be of good use in the Rajya Sabha. I feel that the Congress party should not raise questions over the appointment of such a person.”
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. The former CJI was nominated by President Ram Nath Kovind to fill the vacancy caused due to the retirement of senior advocate KTS Tulsi. 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. Currently, Swapan Dasgupta, Subramanian Swamy, Narendra Jadhav, Suresh Gopi, Mary Kom, Sambhaji Chhatrapati, Roopa Ganguly, Ram Shakal, Rakesh Sinha, Sonal Mansingh, and Raghunath Mohapatra are the nominated members of the Rajya Sabha. In the past, stalwarts such as Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar have served as nominated members.
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.