Judicial independence threatened by the dominance of a “lobby” over it: Ranjan Gogoi | India News
“The independence of the judiciary means breaking the dominance of half a dozen people over it. Unless this domain is broken, the judiciary cannot be independent. They have judges to rescue. If a case is not decided in a particular way defended by them, they defame the judge in every possible way. I fear for the status quoist judges, who do not want to confront them and who want to withdraw peacefully, ”Judge Gogoi told TOI hours after he was sworn in as a nominated member of RS.
He dismissed criticism that his nomination was quid pro quo over the Ayodhya and Rafale trials, saying he was being slandered because he defied the “lobby.” “A judge is not faithful to his oath if he does not decide a case according to his conscience. If a judge decides a case for fear of what the half-dozen people will say, then he is not true to his oath. I decide according to what my conscience tells me is correct. Otherwise, I’m not being honest as a judge, “said Judge Gogoi.
“I was the lobby favorite when I attended the press conference in January 2018. But they want judges to decide cases in a certain way and only then will they be certified as” independent judges. “I never had any feeling that there is any expectation out there. I did and do what I think is correct, otherwise I’m not being honest as a judge, “he said, referring to the presser he had with three other judges to protest the way the cases were assigned to different banks by the then CJI Dipak Misra.
“I never was, I never am, and I will never be afraid of anyone’s opinion (except my wife’s). Others’ opinion of me is not my problem, but their problem and they will have to solve it. Am I afraid of criticism? If so, could he have served as a judge? Upon reaching Ayodhya’s trial, it was a unanimous verdict from a court of five judges. Rafale was again a unanimous verdict from a three-judge court. By leveling the quid pro quo indictment, do you not question the integrity of all the judges involved in the two judgments? I ask.
He said that the judges preferred silence due to the vitriol accumulated by the “lobby”. “I will not remain silent today,” said the former defiant CJI. He shattered the suggestion that his nomination for Rajya Sabha was part of a quid pro quo where he issued appropriate verdicts for the government. “Those who criticize accepting the nomination as a quid pro quo should give a former CJI a better sense of proportion. If a former CJI wants a quid pro quo, then he could seek bigger, more lucrative positions with higher pay and facilities and not an RS nomination, where the pecuniary benefits are the same as those of a retired judge. But I have decided that if the rules allow it, I will not take the salary and allowances from the RS and I will give it to restore libraries of law schools in small towns, ”he said.
Judge Gogoi also addressed criticism that he practiced “sealed cap” jurisprudence, a practice that is antithetical to transparency, in important cases like Rafale. “Should we have released sensitive information related to the weapons attached to the Rafale aircraft? Pakistan would have laughed out loud and said it mocked India through the Supreme Court. And was the scrutiny of the Rafale agreement an ordinary request for road construction to demand a similar level of transparency regarding prices? I ask.
“Why was this same group kept silent when the Supreme Court dealt with the case concerning the irregular allocation of 2G spectrum only through sealed cover reports?” Why are they silent when the SC received a “sealed cover report” on Shaheen Bagh’s protests? Why is it not questioned? “The former CJI asked. In his nomination as a member of RS by the President, Judge Gogoi said:” The offer came a week ago from an individual who is not connected to the judiciary or the government. Are you a former CJI who has spent 20 years as a constitutional judge not eligible to be nominated for RS under Article 80 of the Constitution where the President elects the help and advice of the council of ministers? How does a retired judge compromise the independence of the judiciary by accepting the nomination?
When he was struck by criticism from his former colleagues J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, he said: “I attended the press conference when I was an acting judge. Today, having successfully (to my satisfaction) completed my role as judge, if I accept the nomination for Rajya Sabha, where is the question of compromising judicial independence?