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Oppn, Retd. SC judges slam Gogoi for 'accepting' RS nomination

Retired SC judges Kurian Joseph, AK Patnaik — who headed panel to probe alleged sexual harassment complaint against Gogoi — criticise ex-CJI for ‘accepting’ RS nomination

Oppn, Retd. SC judges slam Gogoi for accepting RS nomination

New Delhi: A day after the Narendra Modi government recommended the nomination of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha, leaders of Opposition parties, as well as former SC judges Kurian Joseph and A K Patnaik, slammed Gogoi for 'accepting' the RS ticket.

Notably, Gogoi was nominated to the Upper House by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday.

Meanwhile, while defending his nomination, Gogoi on Tuesday said he would speak in detail why he accepted the offer of a seat in Rajya Sabha after he takes the oath. Gogoi, as reported by a news agency, said: "I will go to Delhi probably tomorrow (Wednesday). Let me first take the oath, then I will speak in detail to the media why I accepted this and why I am going to the Rajya Sabha."

Slamming Gogoi for accepting RS nomination, former Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph said: "The acceptance of nomination as a member of Rajya Sabha by a former Chief Justice of India has certainly shaken the confidence of the common man on the independence of the judiciary, which is also one of the basic structures of the Constitution of India."

Justice Joseph further underscored that he came out in public in an unprecedented move along with Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur to tell the nation that there was a threat to this foundation and now that he felt the threat is at large. "This was also the reason why I decided not to take up any posts after retirement," Justice Joseph said.

Agreeing with the views of Justice Joseph, Patnaik added: "I don't understand why the former CJI should accept the nomination to the Rajya Sabha or even get elected. He has no role there. Neither should a President appoint a former CJI to the RS and nor should he accept it. That is how institutions are maintained. A judge should retire gracefully."

"We have to maintain the independence and purity of institutions. One cannot mix these things. If the government wanted someone from the legal field, there are many others who could have contributed; there are several lawyers and legal academicians who should have been

considered," said Patnaik, who headed the panel to investigate the alleged conspiracy to frame Gogoi in a sexual harassment complaint.

Slamming Gogoi's nomination, former Union minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that he hoped Gogoi would reject the

nomination.

"I hope ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi would have the good sense to say 'NO' to the offer of Rajya Sabha seat to him. Otherwise he will cause incalculable damage to the reputation of the judiciary," Sinha said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked if the Prime Minister had considered the advice of his Late Law minister before nominating Gogoi. "Did PM Modi consider the advice of his former colleague and Law Minister and Finance minister Arun Jaitley before recommending ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha," he asked on Twitter.

Agreeing with Surjewala, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said that Modi could have adhered to the advice of Jaitley in this regard. Singhvi, a noted lawyer, also highlighted and shared the 2012 remarks of Jaitley on having a cooling-off period for judges to head Tribunals.

Defending the nomination of former CJI Ranganath Misra to Rajya Sabha, the Congress leader said Mishra was nominated to the Rajya Sabha after serving at NHRC for six years and not like Gogoi who has been nominated just after his retirement. Mishra was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1998 after he retired in

1992. Communist Party of India (Marxist) head Sitaram Yechury recalled how Gogoi himself had criticised post-retirement gigs for judges in the past.

"What must one make of a government that does this, after appointing another ex-Chief Justice as the Governor of a state?" he asked.

On the issue, NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said: "The government should refrain from appointing judges who have handled sensitive cases to the Upper House. The Modi government

should not have nominated Justice (retired) Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha. The people of the country look upon the judiciary for dispensation of justice without fear and favour."

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