Indian President Ram Nath Kovind's decision to nominate former head of the Indian judiciary to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament did not go down well with the Twitterati.
The controversy over Justice Gogoi’s appointment erupted as it came immediately after his retirement, as well as over the fact that he had headed benches which delivered several sensitive judgements that were considered to be in favour of the present government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These included the Ayodhya land title dispute between Hindus and Muslims, allegations of corruption in the acquisition of Rafael fighter planes, etc.
Justice Gogoi also faced allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a Supreme Court Staffer in April of last year. A three-judge panel on the Supreme Court, which had investigated the allegations, however, had given Justice Gogoi a clean chit.
The notification on his appointment was issued on Monday (16 March) by the federal Home Ministry led by Amit Shah. Since then, social media has been flooded with reactions against the decision, prompting prominent personalities including historians and politicians to take a critical stand on the development.
Is it “quid pro quo”?— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) March 16, 2020
How will people have faith in the Independence of Judges ? Many Questions pic.twitter.com/IQkAx4ofSf
In light of the development, famous quotes by key functionary of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) late Arun Jaitely, who was a leading lawyer, are trending on the social media.
He once said: “Pre-retirement judgements are influenced by a desire for a post-retirement job” and “there are two kinds of judges–one who knows the law, the other who knows the Law Minister".
Twitterati recalled the old quote of Jaitley’s and asked the BJP to pay heed to what its own party member had to say.
In 2012, Arun Jaitley, then leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, remarked, "There are two kinds of judges–one who knows the law, the other who knows the Law Minister".— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) March 17, 2020
Now there are three kinds of judges; the third kind knowing the Law Minister AND the Home Minister.
1/4Modiji amitshahji hamari nahi to arun Jaitley ki to sun lijiye! Did he not speak and write against post retirement largesse to judges? Do u remember https://t.co/epa5qnDZCt. Sc as indeed all courts function on faith trust perception & faith. Each has taken a bad beating today— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) March 16, 2020
Did PM Modi consider the advice of his former colleague & Law Minister-Finance Minister, Late Sh. Arun Jaitley before recommending Ex CJI, Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha? https://t.co/WNyfeLJFg1— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 17, 2020
The office of federal minster for Indian Railways Piyush Goyal came to the government's rescue and stated there had been such instances during the rule of Congress Party, now in opposition. Similar tweets were put up by the other netizens too.
Looks like a quote from Arun Jaitley ji's speech in Rajya Sabha on judicial appointments commission bill, 2013: 05.09.2013 is still hurting Congress. Cases like Justice Ranganath Misra and Justice Baharul Islam are illustrative https://t.co/u9wvRniO6p pic.twitter.com/2MpWMu02KG— Piyush Goyal Office (@PiyushGoyalOffc) March 17, 2020
Samajwadi Journalist can't understand that it was a quote of Arun Jaitley sir speech in RS— Intrepid Saffron (@IntrepidSaffron) March 17, 2020
Btw before attacking BJP have you read about These three Judges?
Who got RS seat as a boon from Congress pic.twitter.com/LpcXWfqw3D
Sir, Congress had appointed many retired judges at various positions but now unnecessarily criticising Tarun gogoi. Kindly expose this duplicity please. When gogoi conducted a press conference, he was their blue eyed boy. Why this sudden shift— Anilkumar Krishnapillai (@AnilkumarKrish8) March 17, 2020
While previous governments had nominated judges to political positions, the nomination of Justice Gogoi is the first one done by the president of India. As per Indian law, the president can appoint 12 members, who have knowledge in diverse fields such as history and literature, to the Rajya Sabha.