In an unprecedented move, the Honourable President of India, Ram Nath Kovind nominated the former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha which is the upper house of the Parliament on Monday.
On Tuesday, Ranjan Gogoi told the reporters “I will go to Delhi probably tomorrow. Let me first take the oath, then I will speak in detail to the media why I accepted this,” in Guwahati, Assam.
Mr Gogoi said, “I have accepted it since I have a strong conviction that the legislative and the 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 November 2019 Ranjan Gogoi retired after serving as the CJI and presiding over the top court of India for almost 13 months. He was succeeded by the current CJI S A Bobde.
Mr Gogoi was among the 4 sitting Supreme Court judges who held the first of its kind press conference in January 2018 when Dipak Mishra was serving as the Chief Justice of India. They had alleged selective “assignment of cases to preferred judges” and “sensitive cases were being allotted to junior judges” now ex-CJI Dipak Misra.
In the past, never has been the case where a Chief Justice was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, as usually artists and celebrities dominated here. A few members of the judicial system have, however, crossed over to the space of legislature.
Over two decades ago, the ex-CJI Ranganath Mishra joined the Congress party and became a Member of Parliament (MP). Mr Mishra who retired in the year 1991 was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in the year 1998 where he stayed until 2004.
Former Justice Baharul Islam was already a Rajya Sabha MP before he was nominated as a Judge of the Gauhati High Court. In 1980 he was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India. His one of the most notable case was when he absolved the then Bihar Chief Minister (CM) Jagannath Mishra in the Urban Cooperative Bank scandal case. He later resigned as a judge and then became a member of the upper house of Parliament again.
When Ranjan Gogoi served as a judge, he headed the Constitution bench which delivered the landmark verdict in the Ayodhya Disputed Land case. The Supreme Court of India handed the disputed land for the Temple and asked the government to provide a 5 acre land for a Mosque at an alternative location in Ayodhya itself.
Mr Gogoi was also a part of the bench that gave the government a clean chit in the case regarding the acquisition of the Rafale Jets from France, in which the top court said that there was no occasion to doubt the decision making process in the deal of buying the 36 fighter jets.
There was an allegation of sexual harassment against him by an employee of the court, however, he was cleared of all charges by a 3 member Supreme Court panel. In his farewell speech, Mr Gogoi spoke of the lawlessness that is taking over in “some pockets” of the Indian legal system.