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As former CJI Ranjan Gogoi takes oath as Rajya Sabha member, Opposition walks out

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi takes oath as Rajya Sabha MP during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi takes oath as Rajya Sabha MP during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Thursday, March 19, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress says his appointment has disgraced the Indian judiciary

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday took oath as a Rajya Sabha member amidst protests and walkout by Opposition parties. The Congress said his appointment had disgraced the Indian judiciary.

The ruckus began as soon as Chairman Venkaiah Naidu called out Justice Gogoi's name. Opposition parties, including the Congress, Left parties, DMK and the MDMK, started raising slogans- “Shame on You” and many screamed “Deal”. Mr Naidu ordered that the sloganeering would not go on record. He attempted to bring order to the House but without avail. The Opposition parties staged a walkout even as Justice Gogoi was taking oath.

Also read: Editorial | Competitive impropriety: On Ranjan Gogoi’s Rajya Sabha nomination

“We know the constitutional position; we know the precedents; we know the powers of the President of India. We should not do anything like this in the House. Whatever views you have, you can express them outside; you are at liberty,” Mr. Naidu said.

Justice Gogoi (65), who retired in November last, took oath in English. 

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rose to defend his government's decision to nominate Justice Gogoi citing the tradition of choosing eminent persons from diverse fields, including former Chief Justices by Congress governments in the past.

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi arrives at Parliament House to take oath as Rajya Sabha member on Thursday.

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi arrives at Parliament House to take oath as Rajya Sabha member on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

 

“Hon'ble member Ranjan Gogoi, who has taken oath today will surely contribute his best as a nominated member. It was grossly unfair on their part to do like that,” Mr. Prasad told the Opposition.

Minutes later, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and P. Chidambaram addressed a press conference outside the House. Mr Sharma said Justice Gogoi's appointment raised bona fide questions about quid pro quo.

Mr. Sharma said, “It has lowered the very dignity of the office that he had or rather disgraced judiciary. The constitutional scheme of things is very clear that the distancing between the Executive, Parliament and the judiciary.” 

Rangnath Mishra appointment

He said that examples like Rangnath Mishra, the 21st Chief Justice of India who gave a clean chit to the Congress in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, serving as a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress between 1998 and 2004 could not be compared to Justice Gogoi's appointment because there was a time lag between his appointment to the House and retirement. In the case of Justice Gogoi, the difference between his retirement and entry to the Rajya Sabha was just four months, he noted.

The Congress pointed out that Justice Gogoi himself had said that post retirement appointment or accepting any position will be a scar on the independence of the judiciary.

During Justice Gogoi's 13-month tenure, the Supreme Court delivered landmark judgements in the Ayodhya case, on the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the entry of women into Kerala's Sabarimala temple and the Rafale jet deal along with Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC).

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 12:12:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/former-cji-ranjan-gogoi-takes-oath-as-rajya-sabha-member/article31106321.ece

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