05:36 GMT25 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The president of India has nominated Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who retired in November 2019 as the top judge in the country to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament. The move has evoked sharp reactions in political and judicial circles in India, questioning the independence of the top judiciary.

    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.

    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.

    ​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.

    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.

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