Gogoi’s nomination to RS: Do not undermine Constitution, Opposition urges President

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 17, 2020 Published on March 17, 2020

President Ramnath Kovind’s decision to nominate former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha has irked the Opposition parties. They alleged that the Narendra Modi government is assaulting the basic structure of the Constitution by neglecting the “separation of power” between the judiciary, executive and the legislature.

Judiciary’s independence

The Congress termed the move as “one of the most serious, unprecedented and unpardonable assaults” on the basic structure of the Constitution and said it subsumes independence of judiciary as held by Supreme Court judgements in the past. The Left parties urged the President to rescind Gogoi’s nomination and demanded a law banning all top government and judicial officers holding any post of profit for some period after their retirement.

Congress spokesman, MP and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the separation of power is a pillar of the country’s constitutional jurisprudence. “Our judiciary thrives, strengthens, works and prospers on perception, on faith, on belief, on aastha, on vishwas. All of these pillars on which the judiciary stand have taken a beating yesterday. These pillars matter more than the reality and actuality and when this is shaken in the minds of the public, the institution is decimated,” he said.

Rejecting the “misleading examples” given by the BJP, he said former Chief Justice Ranganath Misra was appointed to the Rajya Sabha six years after he demitted office. He said former Vice-President Hidayatullah, previously a judge, got that post after nine years of retirement.

Quoting former Finance Minister late Arun Jaitley, Singhvi said “pre-retirement judgements are influenced by a desire for a post-retirement job. “I leave it to judge to you that these high sounding principles and sermons are meant only when you are in the opposition, not when you are in power,” he said.

The CPI(M) Polit Bureau expressed its “firm objection” to Gogoi’s nomination.

“By nominating the former CJI to the Rajya Sabha, the Modi government is brazenly undermining the independence of the judiciary and subverting the separation of powers between the organs of the State, which is an inviolable principle enshrined in our Constitutional scheme. Ironically, last year itself, then CJI Gogoi had observed: ‘There is a strong viewpoint that post-retirement appointment is a scar on independence of judiciary’,” the statement of the CPI(M) said. “The recent delays in delivery of justice, mid-night transfers of High Court judges and the delay in taking up the challenges to abrogation of Article 370 and the CAA have not evoked confidence among the people and are not in consonance with their legitimate expectations,” it added and urged the President to rescind the nomination of Gogoi.

The National Secretariat of the CPI demanded a law banning all top government and judicial officers to hold any post of profit for some period after their retirement be enacted. It also recalled Gogoi’s observation on “post retirement appointment” and “judicial independence”.

“The nomination of former chief justice puts the credibility of judicial system in dock,” the CPI statement said.

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Published on March 17, 2020
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