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Opinion

Gogoi’s nomination sets a wrong precedent | HT Editorial – Editorials

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President Ram Nath Kovind nominated former Chief Justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court (SC), Ranjan Gogoi, to Rajya Sabha. The nomination, which is intended for eminent personalities who have excelled in their fields and can contribute to national public life, is made on the advice of the government. But Gogoi’s nomination, just four months after his retirement, has rightly raised concerns.

The entire constitutional government building is based on the separation of powers. The legislature is popularly elected where the sovereignty of the people resides; the executive is accountable to the legislature; and the judiciary is the defender of the Constitution and, together with its other duties, provides control against executive excesses, arbitrariness and illegal measures. To carry out its task, the judiciary must be completely and fiercely independent, isolated from pressures and incentives.

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To be sure, Congress has also, in various ways, provided charges to SC judges, including, most notably, former CJ Ranganath Mishra, who was nominated for the Rajya Sabha with a party ticket. But just as that was wrong, so is the decision to nominate Mr. Gogoi. It undermines the credibility of the judgments he had delivered during his tenure. It lends itself to the perception of a quid pro quo. It distorts incentives for judges, who may be tempted by the prospect of post-retirement positions and allow their decisions to be influenced once again by an older trend that is reinforced by the new decision. It threatens the very principle of an independent judiciary, which is the basis of democracy. And it erodes the faith of citizens in the idea of ā€‹ā€‹justice.

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