New Delhi: The Centre’s decision to nominate former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha has not gone down well with the legal fraternity, with the All India Lawyers Union (AILU) terming it as a “fatal jolt” to the independence of the Indian judiciary.
In a statement released on Tuesday, PV Surendranath, senior advocate and general secretary of AILU also appealed to retired justice Gogoi not to accept the nomination to “protect credibility, integrity and independence of judiciary and people’s faith and confidence in it.”
Read the full statement below:
Nomination of Justice Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha is yet another fatal jolt to Indian Judiciary made by Modi regime. It not only impinges credibility, integrity & independence of judiciary & public faith and confidence in it but also reflects the present nature, position and stature of judiciary.
Mr. Gogoi demitted the office of the Chief Justice of India on superannuation on 17 November 2019 only. His tenure as CJI was arguably the most controversial period and it has been widely perceived that Supreme Court could not discharge its function and role as sentinel of qui vive during this period in protection of fundamental rights and civil liberties as illustrated by the Kashmir issue, Rafale case, Assam NRC matter etc. and whereas the executive was over protected by its actions, inactions and omissions.
The All India Lawyers Union (AILU) condemns the nomination of Justice Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha in strongest terms.
It is on record that Jt. Gogoi himself said “there is view point that post-retirement appointment itself is a scar on independence of the judiciary. This is a valid and strong point”.
While dealing with re-appointment of members of tribunals Constitution Bench headed by Jt. Gogoi struck down the provision in Tribunal rules which enabled re-appointment of tribunal members after retirement by observing that “the provision for re-appointment would undermine the independence of the members who would presumably be constrained to decide matters in a manner that would ensure their re-appointment”.
He observed further “the discretion accorded to the Central or State Government to re-appoint members after retirement from one tribunal to another discourages public faith in justice dispensation system which is akin to loss of one of the key limbs of the sovereign” He further added that “it increases interference by the executive jeopardizing the independence of judiciary”.
By the same standard nobody can resist the criticism that the nomination of Jt. Gogoi to Rajya Sabha is reward for favourable judgments, orders and actions including the judgment in Babri Masjid case and Rafale case at the hands of Jt. Gogoi in favour of the executive, the Modi regime.
Presumably nomination is made by the Modi regime with the consent of Jt. Gogoi. He should not have consented for the proposal in deference to independence of judiciary and the principle that Justice shall not only be done but shall also be seen to be done.
This is not an isolated incident at all. It seems that Modi regime has perfected an art of taming the judiciary by appeasement, browbeating, surveillance by tailored IB reports and harassment. When certain judges for their favourable orders in favour of the executive are rewarded, judges whose judgments were not palatable to the Modi regime were harassed in all possible ways and means.
The elevation of Justice K M Joseph who scrapped Presidential rule in the state of Uttarakhand in the year 2016 was protracted and delayed by the Modi regime for about eight months despite the fact that he was recommended for elevation by the collegium of Supreme Court in January, 2018.
Justice Akhil Abdulhamid Kureshi, who ruled against Mr. Narendra Modi & Mr. Amit Shah, was initially recommended by the Collegium of the Supreme Court for appointment as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court. But the Central Government objected to it and in the month of September 2019 the collegium headed by then CJI Mr. Ranjan Gogoi modified the recommendation and recommended Jt. Kureshi for appointment as Chief Justice of the High Court of Tripura.
In the meanwhile, when the vacancy of Chief Justice is occurred in the High Court of Gujarat due to elevation of Chief Justice to Supreme Court Jt. Kureshi was not initially made as acting Chief Justice as per the convention and practice, but transferred to High Court of Bombay. Even after modified recommendation for appointment as Chief Justice of High Court of Tripura Central Government delayed the matter.
Dr. Jt. Muralidhar who was hearing the matter regarding non-registration of FIRs against hate speeches of Mr. Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance, Union of India, Mr. Kapil Mishra, a former MLA & BJP leader etc. has been transferred overnight.
The aforesaid illustrative incidents graphically demonstrate the track records of Modi regime in indulging in the matter of blatant and brazen interference with the independence of judiciary. The nomination of Jt. Gogoi to Rajya Sabha is a brazen violation of independence of judiciary from within and without.
We strongly protest and object against this nomination of Jt. Gogoi and appeal to the Hon’ble President of India to rescind the nomination and request Jt. Gogoi not to accept the nomination to protect credibility, integrity and independence of judiciary and people’s faith and confidence in it.
PV Surendranath, Sr. Adv
General Secretary, AILU