‘Gogoi’s decision shakes peoples’s trust in free judiciary’

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Former Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph on Tuesday criticised former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for accepting the nomination to the Rajya Sabha, saying his decision will negatively affect the confidence of the common man on the independence of the judiciary.

“‘We have discharged our debt to the nation’ was the statement made by Justice Ranjan Gogoi along with the three of us on January 12, 2018. I am surprised as to how Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who once exhibited such courage of conviction to uphold the independence of judiciary, has compromised the noble principles on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,” he said.

Justice Joseph was among the four judges along with then Justice Gogoi to address the historic press conference on January 12, 2018 alleging “democracy is in danger as independence of judiciary is in peril”, and criticising then Chief Justice Dipak Misra for almost succumbing to the executive.

He insisted that the acceptance of nomination to the Rajya Sabha by a former Chief Justice, has certainly shaken the confidence of the common man on the independence of the judiciary, which is also one of the basic structures of the Constitution.

“Our great nation continues to be firmly grounded on the basic structures and constitutional values, thanks mainly to the independent judiciary. The moment this confidence of the people is shaken, the moment there is a perception that a section among judges are otherwise biased or looking forward, the tectonic alignment of the nation built on solid foundations is shaken,” Justice Joseph said.

He contended that only to strengthen this alignment, the Collegium system was introduced by the Supreme Court in 1993 to make the judiciary completely independent and not interdependent.

“I came out in public in an unprecedented move along with Justice (J.) Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur to tell the nation that there was a threat to this foundation. This was also the reason why I decided not to take up any posts after retirement,” Justice Joseph added.



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