Former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi took oath as a member of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah attended the swearing-in ceremony.
This is not the first time a former CJI has been nominated as a part of the Rajya Sabha, however, Gogoi received an unprecedented welcome.
The opposition has been opposing the decision on the floor of the house shouting, “shame” and “deal”. Later during the oath ceremony, the opposition walked out of the house.
The nomination of Ranjan Gogoi by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind on Monday received a lot of criticism. Ex-judges have raised concerns over the “independence of the judiciary” over an after-retirement appointment.
“This judge (Justice Gogoi) has destroyed the independence of the judiciary,” former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah told a national daily. “It sends out the message that if a judge gives judgments in favour of the executive, he/she will be rewarded,” AP Shah added.
Former Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph, alleged that the former CJI had compromised the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.
Gogoi along with JS Chelameswar, Lokur, and Kurian, on January 12, 2018, held an unprecedented press conference to warn the nation about the independence of the judiciary that has been compromised by the government into the Supreme Court.
Member of Parliament and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Unprecedented and unpardonable assault on the basic structure of the Constitution.”
Reacting over the criticism, Gogoi claimed that he has his reasons to accept the position and will speak in detail after taking the oath. He said, “I have accepted the offer because of a strong conviction that the legislature and 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.”
65-year-old Ranjan Gogoi retired as the Chief Justice of India in November 2019. Gogoi in his 13-month long tenure delivered landmark judgments that include Ayodhya Land Dispute, Rafale Fighter Jet case and of women entering Sabrimala Temple.
Gogoi was also accused of sexual harassment by a woman who had earlier worked as a junior court assistant at the Supreme Court. At a special hearing, he himself heard the cases and April 20. Gogoi had said he did not “deem it appropriate” to reply to the allegations and that it was a plot against the office of CJI.