Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi etched his name in the annals of history when a five-judge bench headed by him on November 9 brought an end to the Ayodhya land dispute (Photo Credit: ANI/Twitter)
Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took oath as the member Rajya Sabha in Parliament on Thursday. He was nominated to the Upper House by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday. Gogoi's nomination had sparked strong reactions both from political parties and the legal fraternity. Nominated just four months after his retirement, Justice Gogoi had backed the Modi government's move. He etched his name in the annals of history when a five-judge bench headed by him on November 9 brought an end to the Ayodhya land dispute, which dates back to even before the Supreme Court came into existence in 1950.
“Let me first take oath, then I will speak in detail to the media why I accepted this and why I am going to Rajya Sabha," he said. In a gazette notification on Monday, President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Gogoi to the Council of States to fill the vacancy caused due to the retirement of one of the nominated members. There have been debates in the political circles and other quarters on the nomination of Gogoi, who had retired in November last year as the Chief Justice of India (CJI) after serving for about 13 months. On the criticism of his RS nomination, Gogoi told a local news television channel, “I have accepted the offer of the nomination to the Rajya Sabha because of a strong conviction that the legislature and judiciary must at some point of time work together for nation-building.
Many said that it was his 'reward' for the Ayodhya verdict. Though there is no set rule, the Centre rarely appoints a former CJI to the Rajya Sabha this quickly. The guidelines by the Law Commission strongly advise against such an appointment. "...There can be no doubt that it is clearly undesirable that Supreme Court Judges should look forward to other Government employment after their retirement," says Paragraph 29 of the 14th report by the Law Commission.
Justice Gogoi's name will also be remembered for heading a bench which gave clean chit to the Modi government twice -- first on the writ petition and then on the pleas seeking review of the December 14, 2018 verdict -- in the Rafale fighter jet deal with French firm Dassault Aviation. The bench had warned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing certain remarks to the apex court in the Rafale case and asked him to be more careful in the future.These important decisions apart, Justice Gogoi, known for his no-nonsense approach, boldness and fearlessness, also led a bench which monitored and ensured that NRC exercise in Assam, his native state, is completed within the set timeframe.