Former Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph on Tuesday (March 17) said former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has “compromised the noble principles” of the independence and impartiality of judiciary by accepting the nomination to Rajya Sabha.
“According to me, the acceptance of nomination as member of Rajya Sabha by a former CJI, has certainly shaken the confidence of the common man on the independence of judiciary, which is also one of the basic structures of the Constitution of India,” the former judge said.
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Justice Joseph said he was “surprised” to see his former colleague’s nomination to the Upper House by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday (March 16).
“‘We have discharged our debt to the nation’ was the statement made by Justice Ranjan Gogoi along with the three of us on January 12, 2018. I am surprised as to how Justice Ranjan Gogoi who once exhibited such courage of conviction to uphold the independence of judiciary, has compromised the noble principles on the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary,” Justice Joseph said.
In January 2018, Justices Joseph, Gogoi, J Chelameswar and Madan b Lokur had held an unprecedented press conference questioning the conduct of then CJI Dipak Misra on a range of issues, including on the allocation of important cases in the apex court.
Echoing Justice Joseph’s reaction, earlier in the day, Justice Lokur told The Indian Express that the move has redefined the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary and questioned if the last bastion has fallen.
Justice Joseph further said, “the moment this confidence of the people is shaken, the moment there is a perception that a section among judges are otherwise biased or looking forward, the tectonic alignment of the nation built on solid foundations is shaken.”
Referring to the press conference, Justice Joseph said he, along with other three judges, had come out in public in an “unprecedented move”, “to tell the nation that there was a threat to this foundation and now I feel the threat is at large.”
He said that to ensure there is no threat to the nation, he had decided not to take up any posts after retirement.
Former CJI Gogoi, who headed benches that pronounced several key judgements including in the sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case, was on Monday nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the government.
Meanwhile, Justice Gogoi (retd) on Tuesday said he would soon reveal why he accepted the nomination to the Upper House. “I’ll go to Delhi probably tomorrow. Let me first take the oath then I will speak in detail to the media that why I accepted this and why I am going to Rajya Sabha,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
(With inputs from agencies)