Letters

Letters to the Editor — March 19, 2020

Gogoi’s nomination

A fair system of checks and balances is the sine qua non for the efficient working of a democratic government. A separation of powers is one of the main pillars in this system of checks. However, the government of the day, by nominating the former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, to the Rajya Sabha, and so soon after his retirement, has only made a mockery of this system. India boasts of having one of the strongest judicial systems in the world and where there are checks and balances to keep away any influence or pressure on the judges. Justice Gogoi’s nomination, though it does not defy the principle of separation of powers, is one that undermines the credibility of the judge. The post of Chief Justice of India is the highest judicial office one can hold in India and Justice Gogoi, as a former CJI, should have recused himself from this nomination.

Kirti Sharma,

Mohali, Punjab

There are examples of retired judges accepting jobs that are of a political and administrative nature. However in Justice Gogoi’s case, his nomination covers many issues such as those of propriety. Ethics demand that no retired judge of the highest court accepts a post that will room to criticism and controversy. In India, the pension and perks and government servant gets is normally sufficient for them to lead a life with dignity, comfort and without financial worries. Justice Gogoi should have thought about all this.

P. Venkatasubramanian,

Coimbatore

The nomination is both questionable and debatable. Judgeship is all about erudition and uprightness when in office and aloofness after retirement; it is all the more so when the person is a retired Chief Justice of India. When nomination is offered and accepted, it gets invariably tagged with the judgments he had pronounced. It is seen as a reward for favouring a political party when issues of national importance were decided by him. Justice Gogoi, in his discharge of duties as a judge, may not have favoured anyone by going out of the way but the public perception is clear that he has been duly rewarded. This casts doubts on his integrity. Moreover, participation in parliamentary proceedings involves high decibel verbal exchanges and questioning. Justice Gogoi may have to deal with noisy opponents. Two great Indian retired Supreme Court judges, Justice H.R. Khanna and Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer mindlessly contested for the post of President of India as Opposition candidates. Both polled almost identical percentage of votes (around 23%) and lost the election. Non-involvement in political activities by retired High Court and Supreme Court judges only enhances the dignity of the office they once held.

V. Lakshmanan,

Tirupur, Tamil Nadu

While post-retirement political appointments of judges are nothing new, the nomination of Justice Gogoi assumes greater significance for two reasons. He along with three other judges expressed concern over “perceived political encroachment” and openly too, in a press conference in 2018. Further, he has headed a Constitution Bench that has delivered a “historic judgment”. There is a creeping worry that post-retirement jobs are a result of pre-retirement judgments. Above all, public confidence in the judiciary cannot be shaken through such appointments. The issue needs to be resolved convincingly.

B. Gurumurthy,

Madurai

There is dismay and shock and the strong perception that a Chief Justice of India has fallen for a ‘gift from the government’ within months of his retirement. If judges fall prey to the temptations of power, who will save the pluralistic roots of our democracy? It is time we stand up for our values and not join the rat race bartering our honour for personal short-term gains.

R.D. Singh,

Ambala, Haryana

Although the Rajya Sabha is called the ‘House of Elders’ and has much to gain with the presence of a luminary such as a former Chief Justice of India, an appointment such as Justice Gogoi’s, is bound to cast aspersions on the appointee as well as the government, and rightly so. On the one hand lies the connotation and fear of judges being rewarded for toeing the government’s line, while on the other lies the benefit of harnessing the country’s best judicial minds in other sectors of the polity after their retirement. The Supreme Court of India should work out comprehensive guidelines that include a “cooling-off period” and independent evaluation so that retired judges can unabashedly contribute to non-judicial posts without disturbing judicial independence.

M.B. Bhargav,

Bengaluru

 

Pandemic response

With every disaster we have seen in the past such as the tsunami, earthquake and floods, we have seen humankind coming together to face the adversity. But the pandemic now has created a chasm. There seems to be mutual distrust fuelled by social and the conventional media. There should not be panic but social collaboration. Let a virus not create disharmony in the face of adversity.

Ganesan Ramachandran,

Faridabad, Haryana

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 4:24:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-march-19-2020/article31101957.ece

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