Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi as MP: Abysmal Attendance in Parliament, Zero Lawmaking
Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi in Parliament. Photo credit: Rediff.com
New Delhi: Amid notable post-retirement postings awarded to certain retired judges by the government, former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has held his position for a considerable time. However, as a Rajya Sabha MP, Gogoi’s performance in Parliament has been rather poor along with a meagre 29% attendance over the last three years, The Print reported. In comparison, the average attendance of MPs is 79%.
Gogoi’s performance comes into question amid the development that three of the four retired judges on the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court that delivered the Ayodhya verdict in 2019 have received plum government posts within months of their retirement, NewsClick has reported. In the latest, the President of India appointed Justice S. Abdul Nazeer as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh just 40 days after the judge’s retirement from the Supreme Court.
Gogoi was the first to retire among the four following the Ayodhya verdict in 2019. Within months, he was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha and took the oath of office in March 2020. Afterwards, Justice Ashok Bhushan retired in July 2021, and was appointed the Chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal in November 2021.
On his controversial appointment to the Upper House, Gogoi had told a news channel, “I have accepted the offer of nomination to the Rajya Sabha because of strong conviction that the legislature and judiciary must, at some point of time, work together for nation-building. My presence in Parliament will be an opportunity to project the views of the judiciary before the legislature and vice-versa.”
In addition, Gogoi also defended his decision to become an MP in his memoir Justice for the Judge, saying that he had accepted the nomination as he wanted to raise issues regarding the Northeastern region, from where he hails.
However, the former CJI has not intervened in any issue pertaining to the judiciary or the Northeast.
In the three years since his nomination, there have been eight Rajya Sabha sessions, and Gogoi has not asked any question in the Parliament, The Print reported. According to the report, Parliament records show that he has also not participated in any discussion or presented any private member’s bill.
The report further says that Gogoi has attended the current budget session for only six of 10 days till February 13. Moreover, during the previous budget session, he was present for just seven of 29 days.
Even though Gogoi’s attendance marginally went up in the past few sessions, he did not make any notable intervention in terms of legislation, the report said.
So far, Gogoi has neither asked any starred or unstarred questions in the Upper House nor has he participated in any debate. The national average of such participation by MPs in the Parliament is 56.9.
Comparing Gogoi’s performance with that of athlete PT Usha, who was nominated in July 2022, the report pointed out that the latter has an average attendance of 91% over three sessions, has asked eight questions and participated in three debates.
In December 2021, Gogoi said in an interview that he had not been attending the Rajya Sabha due to medical advisory amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as per the report.
After his nomination to the Upper House, Gogoi was appointed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs in July 2020. The next year, he was made a member of the Standing Committee on Communications and IT.
Citing sources, The Print reported that after Gogoi was renominated to the External Affairs committee in September 2022, he skipped all its nine meetings. Even as a part of the committee on communications for eight months, he remained absent from all meetings, as per Rajya Sabha records cited by the report.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.