AGENCIES, New Delhi: India’s ex-Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi took oath as a Member of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Gogoi was nominated to the Upper House by President Ram Nath Kovind and has been allotted seat number 131 in the House.
However, members of the Opposition political parties including the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in particular opposed the former CJI’s appointment and walked out of the Rajya Sabha. Other members from the Communist Party of India, DMK and MDMK also joined the protest by Congress and BSP.
Gogoi was nominated on March 16, four months after his retirement in November 2019 and his nomination to the Rajya Sabha has been criticised by retired Supreme Court judges like justices Madan Lokur, AK Patnaik and Kurian Joseph. Despite the odds and negativity, Gogoi went on to defend his nomination by saying that he accepted the offer because of his conviction that the legislature and judiciary must work together for nation-building.
“My presence in Parliament will be an opportunity to project the views of the judiciary before the legislature and vice versa”, Gogoi said. He added that it was not an impulsive decision and that he had given the nomination a considerable thought before agreeing to accept it.
With this, Gogoi becomes the first former CJI to become a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. He is also the second CJI to become a Rajya Sabha MP after justice Ranganath Misra, who was elected as a Congress lawmaker from Odisha. Justice Misra, however, became a Rajya Sabha member in 1998, nearly seven years after his retirement from the Supreme Court.
During Gogoi’s term as CJI, the most significant judgment was in the Ram Janmabhoomi case, where he led a bench which granted the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindu parties, clearing the way for the construction of the Ram Temple.