NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to set a cooling- off period for judges to take up government assignments after retirement.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India(CJI) H L Dattu dismissed a PIL seeking its direction for stipulating the cooling-off period for retired judges and restraining governments from appointing retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts to any post without the consultation and concurrence of the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justices of the High Courts.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by petitioner Mohammed Ali, who pleaded that it was necessary to pass order regarding this to protect the integrity of the judiciary.
He submitted that there was no provision as such in the Constitution as the founding fathers did not expect a retired Chief Justice of India to accept a post offered by the government.
The petitioner referred to the first Law Commission’s Report, which said it was undesirable for Supreme Court Judges to accept government jobs after their retirement.
However, ex-Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, who bowed out last month, had opined that there should be a cooling- off period of two years for judges and said that he wouldn’t take any government assignment during that period.
“If a Supreme Court Chief Justice or a Justice goes for further employment it would certainly affect the independence of the judiciary, which is the basic structure of the Constitution of India.
“It is worth noting that a Judge of the Supreme Court also takes an oath to protect the Constitution. Hence, retired Judges, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court have a duty to respect their oath, which means not to act in violation of the Constitution,” the petition said.
The petitioner also urged the court to restrain former Chief Justice of IndiaP Sathasivam from discharging his official duties as the Kerala Governor till the disposal of the plea.