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Letter to BS: Much will depend on how soon govt utilises Gogoi's experience

All the controversial cases were decided by a bench and not the CJI alone, and were mostly unanimous.

Business Standard 

In picture: CJI Ranjan Gogoi
In picture: CJI Ranjan Gogoi

The editorial “Judicial independence” (March 17) can be seen from two perspectives. Did former chief justice of India (CJI), Ranjan Gogoi, deserve to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President? The edit supports it on the basis of suitability but links it with two (quoted therein) verdicts (and perhaps others like Assam NRC, Sabarimala) in favour of the government and sees the nomination, by implication, as a reward for it. In other words, it warns the judiciary to refrain from taking pro-government verdicts if they are perceived as favouring “majoritarian instincts of any sorts” and advises that it should put aside the touchstone of objectivity and evidence on record. (The court decided on the Ayodhya temple land issue and the Rafale deal on the basis of believable proofs. In the former case, it decided legal rights of the party having proof of longer possession and did not think the secondary source of information as believable in the Rafale matter.)

Moreover, all the controversial cases were decided by a bench and not the CJI alone, and were mostly unanimous. To blame the ex-CJI for those implies that other judges were meek followers in a system in which the CJI is just first among equals.

The second perspective is: Was it too early for the ex-CJI to accept the nomination (just after four months after his retirement)? The answer is yes. Much will depend on how soon the government utilises his “vast experience and erudition” in the realm of jurisprudence. Will he bring about judicial reforms?

Y G Chouksey, Pune


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First Published: Thu, March 19 2020. 22:18 IST
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