Impact of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi being nominated to Rajya Sabha

CJI Gogoi was born in November 1954 and was designated as a permanent judge of the Gauhati High Court in February 2001, however, was transferred to Punjab and Haryana High Court in September 2010. He was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court in April 2012. The judge was appointed as the CJI in October 2018.

However, in his six months, CJI Gogoi faced arguably his greatest crisis in court. In April 2019, reports surfaced in the media that a Supreme Court staffer had accused the CJI of sexual harassment. The allegation came to light after the woman sent a letter along with affidavits to all 22 (at the time) apex court judges. The case was sent to an SC panel, where the charges were found to be baseless. However, Congress had sought to impeach Gogoi.

One of the highlights of Gogoi’s tenure as an SC judge came in 2014 when a bench headed by him kick-started the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in Assam. The process concluded in August 2019, during his tenure as CJI. He retired in November 2019.

The President nominated Shri. Ranjan Gogoi to fill the vacancy in the upper house caused due to retirement of the nominated member. However the appointment has been in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, and Article 80(1)(a)read with subclause (3) empowers the president to nominate members to the upper house. The only condition precedent is that person is eminently qualified. The vacancy was created due to the retirement of KTS Tulsi.

However the concept of independence of judiciary which is one of the cardinal features of our constitution, further the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly showed great solicitude for the attainment of that ideal, devoting more hours of debate to that subject than to any other aspect of the judicial provisions: “If the beacon of the Judiciary was to remain bright, the courts must be above reproach, free from coercion and from political influence.’’

Such appointments are against the principle of independence of the judiciary that has been considered as a part of the basic structure, but this very basic fabric seems to be infringed. The judges to secure appointment after their retirement may give the decisions that might favour the ruling government even ignoring the judicial principles and due process of law. 

Impact of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi being nominated to Rajya Sabha