NEW DELHI: Former Supreme Court chief justice, Ranjan Gogoi, has wondered why some “activist judges” have started raising questions on judiciary immediately after their retirement but kept quiet while they were in office. “Who are these activist judges working with? Who is giving platforms to them for saying all this? There are no questions asked,” said Justice Gogoi.
According to Justice Gogoi, now a Rajya Sabha member nominated by President Ram Nath Kovind, there were three categories of post-retirement assignments for judges, which included “activist judges”, those taking up commercial arbitrations and the third, accepting other kinds of assignments. “Why only it is the third category that draws all the flak? Why are no questions asked about the other two,” asked Justice Gogoi, as per a New-18 report of the event.
The report said Justice Gogoi referred to a report by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy released in 2016 that underlined that 70 of 100 retired judges of the constitutional court got one or the other assignment. “Were all of them compromised? Did it mean independence of judiciary was compromised? It is an individual perception. So long as you are clear in your mind, there is no problem. If a judge is true to his functions, post-retirement work is okay. It has to depend on individuals,” stated Justice Gogoi.
The ex-CJI also answered a question as to why the Ayodhya verdict did not carry the name of its author. “Why must a judgement being of the Supreme Court have to have the name of its author? I can show 32 cases decided by a particular bench in 2015-16 when the author wasn’t named in the judgement. But then no questions were asked. Speaking for myself, I have myself been author of 13 judgements when author wasn’t mentioned,” pointed out Justice Gogoi.
About the Ayodhya judgement, he asked why it was so difficult to accept that five judges on a bench decided a matter unanimously and nobody wanted to take the credit of being the author of a judgment. “Why does a judgment need one author? That judgment (Ayodhya) was signed by five judges. All five judges are the authors,” he said.
Justice Gogoi said questions about name of the judge who wrote the Ayodhya verdict are raised usually by ‘critics’ who wanted all five judges to author separate judgments so that the verdict couldn’t come before his retirement in November 2019. He also had a word of caution against indiscriminate and unreasonable criticism of the judges: “We still have people of great wisdom on the Bench. Let them flourish. Let them do their work. Don’t dishearten them. Support them.” –News-18/IHN-NN