Ex-Chief Justice of India and Rajya Sabha MP Ranjan Gogoi came down heavily on his detractors who questioned his integrity as he gave interviews to leading media houses today. The point that stood out in all the interviews is the fact that Ranjan Gogoi completely exposed the lobby which has held the judiciary at ransom on multiple occasions.
Much has been said about Ranjan Gogoi’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha with the Opposition attempting to smear his integrity. Gogoi is the son of ex-CM of Assam, Kesab Gogoi who belonged to the Indian National Congress. He became a darling of the lobby when he attended the press conference as the SC judges protested against the then CJI Dipak Misra over the allotment of benches. His appointment as the CJI was met with much fanfare among the liberal cabal but soon turned into disdain as Gogoi altered the status quo during his tenure and presided over important judgements like the Ram Mandir and Rafale verdict. Justice Gogoi’s appointment to the Rajya Sabha has seen the cabal attempting to malign not only Gogoi’s integrity but also of the honourable Supreme Court.
Justice Gogoi was seemingly in a mood to drop bombshells as he hit out at his naysayers. Addressing the question of the independence of the judiciary, he said, “Independence of judiciary means breaking the stranglehold of half-a-dozen people over it. Unless this stranglehold is broken, judiciary cannot be independent. They hold judges to ransom. If a case is not decided in a particular way advocated by them, they malign the judge in every way possible. I fear for the status quoist judges, who do not want to take them on and who want to retire peacefully.”
Ranjan Gogoi is perhaps referring to the historic Ayodhya verdict which had remained to be a contentious issue for over a 100 years as parties like the Congress and historians like Irfan Habib and Romila Thapar did their best to stall a verdict. However, Justice Gogoi made it his life’s mission to see that the issue is finally resolved during his tenure as the CJI and unfortunately, even before the verdict was passed the lobby had decided what to do in case of an unfavourable verdict. The five-judge bench unanimously paved the way for creation of Ram Mandir and the lobby came down heavily on Justice Gogoi. Has the verdict gone in the favour of the Muslim parties, the same lobby would have placed Gogoi as a ‘hero’ who saved the constitution.
The Rafale verdict coupled with the Ayodhya verdict saw the lobby take away the certificate of ‘independent judge’ from Justice Gogoi. “I never was, never am and never will be afraid of anyone’s opinion (except my wife’s). What opinion others have of me is not my problem, but their problem and they will have to solve it. Am I afraid of criticism? If so, would I have been able to function as a judge? Coming to Ayodhya judgment, it was a unanimous verdict by a five-judge bench. Rafale was again a unanimous verdict by a three-judge bench. By levelling quid pro quo allegation aren’t they questioning the integrity of all the judges involved in the two judgements?”, said Justice Gogoi in an interview to the Times of India.
Ranjan Gogoi also indirectly said that the opposition and anti-establishment people were in cahoots with enemies of the nation during pre-election campaign to paint the Rafale deal as a scam. Congress loyalists slammed the practice of a ‘sealed cover’ and demanded that the details of the deal be made public knowledge. To this accusation, he said, “Should we have made public sensitive information relating to weaponry attached to Rafale jets? Pakistan would have laughed its heart out and said it outwitted India through the Supreme Court. And was the Rafale deal scrutiny an ordinary road construction to demand similar level of transparency regarding pricing?”
Justice Gogoi exposed the hypocrisy of the same cabal as they were tight lipped when the Supreme Court dealt with the allotment of 2G spectrum and Shaheen Bagh protests through sealed cover reports.
Justice Gogoi was in no mood to spare the “lobby” who hindered judicial independence as he said that the judges remained to be silent because of the vitriol heaped on them by the “lobby”. He further hit out at those accusing him of a quid pro quo as he said, “Those who are criticising acceptance of nomination as quid pro quo must grant a better sense of proportion to a former CJI. If a former CJI wants quid pro quo, then he could seek bigger, lucrative posts with bigger emoluments and facilities and not a nomination to RS, where the pecuniary benefits are same as that of a retired judge.”
It seems that the only thing that the “lobby” actually cared was for their nefarious agenda with the truth being completely binned.
Ranjan Gogoi further added that he will not take a salary and allowances from the Rajya Sabha, rules permitting. He wishes to use the salary and allowances for refurbishing the libraries of law colleges in small towns.
Speaking to India Today, Justice Gogoi revealed why he accepted the nomination. “My answer is why not. I accepted the nomination for the same reason I accept the judgeship at the age of 45 when I had a lucrative practice. There is a practice in the bar that when a judgeship is offered you don’t refuse. When the President makes an offer, you don’t refuse.”
He also didn’t spare the opposition parties who wanted to insult Justice Gogoi as they walked out during his swearing-in. “It was expected, it was building up for the last two days – opposition parties walk out and walk in, I don’t understand how that can upset any reasonable person,” he said.
There is no doubt that with the esteemed presence of Ranjan Gogoi, Rajya Sabha debates will not only become interesting but also informative and fact based. It seems that MP Gogoi not only wants to bring reform in the judiciary but also take head first, the anti-establishment cabal that has been blackmailing judges to act in a pre-ordained manner.