Reacting sharply to the nomination of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi as a Rajya Sabha member by the government, his former colleague Justice (retired) Madan B Lokur told The Indian Express: “There has been speculation for sometime now about what honorific would Justice Gogoi get. So, in that sense the nomination is not surprising, but what is surprising is that it came so soon. This redefines the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary. Has the last bastion fallen?”
In January 2018, Justices Gogoi, Lokur, J Chelameswar, and Kurian Joseph, the most senior judges then in the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented step, called a press conference to question the conduct of then CJI Dipak Misra, especially on the allocation of important cases.
Justice Gogoi surprised his brother judges because he was then next in line to become the CJI. The four judges also made public a letter they had written to the CJI two months ago. The press conference raised questions that brought the relationship between the government and the Chief Justice’s office into sharp focus.
Another of his colleagues from his days at Gauhati High Court, Justice J Chelameswar who has also since retired, refused to comment on the nomination. The fourth judge at the press conference, Justice Kurian Joseph, could not be reached for comment. While in office, both Justices Joseph and Chelameswar had said they would not accept any position by the government post-retirement.
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