New Delhi: Retired SC judge Kurian Joseph said on Tuesday former CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s decision to accept his nomination to the Rajya Sabha from the government has “certainly shaken the confidence of the common man on the independence of the judiciary”. Justice Joseph was one of the four judges, including Gogoi, who had in January 2018 gone public with their disenchantment over the manner sensitive political matters were assigned during CJI Dipak Mishra’s tenure.

Gogoi retired as CJI last November, after a stint of 13 months in which SC dismissed a plea for a probe into the Rafale jet deal and cleared way for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. His nomination to the Upper House within months of retirement has been roundly criticised by former judges, opposition leaders and lawyers.

Joseph said he was “surprised” that Justice Gogoi, “who had once exhibited such courage of conviction to uphold the independence of judiciary, had compromised the noble principles on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary”. In this context, he referred to Gogoi’s statement that he was “discharging his debt to the nation” by speaking out against what was happening in SC during CJI Mishra’s tenure.

The collegium system was introduced by the Supreme Court in 1993 to make the judiciary independent and not interdependent, he said.

Justice Gogoi has defended his decision to accept the nomination. “I have accepted it since I have a strong conviction that the legislative and the judiciary must at some point of time 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,” he said in Guwahati.

The President nominated Justice Gogoi for his expertise in law. There are 14 nominated members in the RS.

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