Weeks after Indian Idol judge Vishal Dadlani famously accused him of leaving a ‘disgraceful and cowardly’ legacy through a controversial judgment on the Ayodhya land dispute case, former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was rewarded with a Rajya Sabha nomination on Monday.
According to a new government notification, issued by President Ram Nath Kovind, Gogoi has been nominated to be a Rajya Sabha MP to ‘fill the vacancy caused due to the retirement of one of the nominated members.’
The notification read, “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of article 80 of the Constitution of India, read with clause (3) of that article, the President is pleased to nominate Shri Ranjan Gogoi to the Council of States to fill the vacancy caused due to the retirement of one of the nominated members.”
The news of Gogoi being rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat evoked strong reactions on social media with many declaring it a shining example of how the Indian judiciary had lost its independence.
Fmr CJI Gogoi nominated to Rajya Sabha! Why am I not surprised?
Any propriety, Sir?
He directed NRC exercise
Ram Mandir in hurried hearings
Refusal to hear J&K habeas corpus
Immunity from law in own sexual harassment case
Politician or judge all along, ye Greedy Lord? pic.twitter.com/af3IdhSf1a
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) March 16, 2020
JUDGEMENTS OF GOGOI
🔸Demolition was criminal. But land is yours
🔸Human Rights matter. But no time to hear petitions
🔸Horse trading bad. But MLAs can contest election
🔸No investigation. Clean Chit to Modiji
Quid Pro Quo = Rajyasabha
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) March 16, 2020
Govt has given the message to the Judiciary.
NOMINATION or TRANSFER ?! https://t.co/1o5gxylbnP
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) March 16, 2020
Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has just been nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President (i.e. the Modi govt.).
“Independent institutions” lol pic.twitter.com/xI4iN91IVd
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) March 16, 2020
It was the Gogoi-led Supreme Court Bench that delivered a controversial verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute. What baffled many constitutional experts was the manner in which the Supreme Court Bench led by Gogoi had awarded the land to Hindus despite concluding that there was no evidence of the Babri Mosque being constructed by demolishing a temple. The Bench had also concluded that there was enough evidence of Muslim prayers being held at the Babri Mosque until Hindu fanatics demolished the 16th-century mosque on 6 December 1992. The Bench had also gone on to declare the demolition of the Babri Mosque an illegal act.
Gogoi, who famously held a press conference against the functioning of the then CJI Deepak Misra, left many disappointed with his refusal to act on matters of public interest. One such example was the gross violation of human rights in Kashmir, which faced a brutal lockdown since 5 August after the government announced the abrogation of Article 370. He was accused of willfully ignoring the petitions filed seeking the top court’s intervention.
Gogoi was also accused of surrendering the judiciary’s independence when the Collegium led by him did not protest the Centre’s Narendra Modi government’s decision to block the promotion of Justice Akil Kureshi. The Collegium had recommended his name to be appointed as the next Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court. But the Centre blocked the Collegium’s recommendation. Gogoi did not protest and instead recommended Justice Kureshi’s name for the Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, which is significantly smaller compared to the Madhya Pradesh HC.
Many feel that the Modi government is punishing Justice Kureshi, known to be a very upright judge all through his career, since he had remanded Home Minister Amit Shah, who was then the junior Home Minister of Gujarat, to two days Police Custody in the infamous Sohrabuddin Shaikh murder case.
In 2012, as reported by the Livelaw website, Justice Kureshi had also upheld the decision of the Governor to appoint (Retd) Justice RA Mehta as Lokayukta in Gujarat without consulting the Council of Ministers.