NEW DELHI: AMID jeers and chants of “shame” from the opposition parties, former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was sworn-in as a member of Rajya Sabha on Thursday. All opposition parties, except the Samajwadi Party, walked out in protest in the middle of Gogoi’s oath after expressing their views that the appointment smacked of quid pro quo and severely compromises independence of the judiciary.
“They will welcome me very soon,” Gogoi said later, unfazed by the unprecedented booing during his swearing in. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad came to Gogoi’s defence. “The Rajya Sabha has a great tradition of many eminent persons coming from diverse fields, including former Chief Justices. Justice Gogoi who has taken oath today will surely contribute his best. It was grossly unfair to do that (the walkout).”
Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said there were established rules and precedents for the appointment and the opposition was not right to behave this way. Gogoi, who retired as the country’s top judge just four months ago, had defended taking up the role. He had saying his presence in Parliament will “be an opportunity to project the views of the judiciary before the legislative and vice versa”.
The former CJI was part of benches that delivered many landmark judgments, including the Ayodhya verdict, Rafale review and contempt proceedings against Rahul Gandhi, habeas corpus petitions on Article 370. The Congress has called the appointment a “serious, unprecedented and unpardonable assault” on the basic structure of the Constitution.