Human rights organisation Manushi's founder, Madhu Kishwar files a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the nomination of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Kishwar contended in the petition that she feels deeply aggrieved at the appointment of Justice Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha, as “it compromises the independence and credibility of our judiciary at the highest levels. During his tenure as a judge of the Supreme Court, and especially after he became the Chief Justice of India, Justice Gogoi delivered several historic judgements, some of which had the potential to create widespread unrest”.
She has urged the Supreme Court to pass a direction to stay the notification and order of March 16 by which the ex-CJI has been made a Rajya Sabha member.
Kishwar insisted that Gogoi’s nomination as a Rajya Sabha member by the President makes it a political appointment, and therefore casts a shadow of doubt on the credibility of the judgements delivered under his headship of the Supreme Court.
She filed this petition without any legal representation on the ground that the ‘independence of the judiciary’ is an essential part of the basic structure of the Constitution and also considered a pillar of democracy.
Kishwar said that the strength of the judiciary lies in the faith citizens of this country have in it. “Any act which creates any adverse impression on the independence of judiciary like the present one, wherein ex-CJI has been nominated to Rajya Sabha, amounts to an assault on the independence of judiciary,” she contended in the petition.
She has also urged the apex court to pass a direction for application of restrictions contained in Section 8 of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 on ex-judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
Kishwar said that the independence of the judiciary is an essential feature of the Constitution and polity. “It forms part of the basic structure doctrine as enunciated by the SC in a whole series of judgements. The rulings of the SC for appointments of judges through the Collegium system minimizing the role of the executive is premised on the necessity of maintaining independence of judiciary,” she said in the petition.
Meanwhile, Gogoi will take oath as an Upper House member at 11 a.m. on Thursday, according to Rajya Sabha bulletin, here on Wednesday.
The Congress has criticised the government over Justice (rtd) Gogoi’s nomination to the House of Elders. The President nominated him to the Rajya Sabha on Monday after almost 4 months of retirement from the apex court.
“The nomination of the retired CJI to the Rajya Sabha is serious, unprecedented and unpardonable assaults on the basic structure of the Constitution, which subsumes the independence of the judiciary as held by the Supreme Court judgement,” said Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Stating that it’s not about any individual or Justice Gogoi, Singhvi said, “Our Constitution is based on separation of powers of the judiciary and the executive. The judiciary thrives on perception od aastha (belief) and vishwas (faith). But all of them have taken the beating.” (IANS)