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GS-II :
  • 23 April, 2020

  • 8 Min Read

Pre-Retirement Judgements and Post Retirement Jobs

Context:

It was thought that on retirement from high constitutional office, a judge would lead a retired life. Nobody ever expected them to accept plum posts. But the clear demarcation between the judiciary and executive got blurred as many judges over the years began to accept posts offered by the government.

Examples:

  • A few years ago, a former Chief Justice of India (CJI) was made a Governor by the ruling BJP government. (Sathasivam is the second judge from Tamil Nadu to become the CJI, after M. Patanjali Sastri. He is also the first former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to be appointed as the Governor of a state. He is the first Governor of Kerala to be appointed by the Narendra Modi Government)
  • Now, we have the case of a former CJI, Ranjan Gogoi, being nominated by the President to the Rajya Sabha and taking oath as Member of Parliament.

Issues :

  • During his tenure as CJI, Justice Gogoi presided over important cases such as Ayodhya and Rafale where all the decisions went in favour of the government.
  • Nomination of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as Rajya Sabha MP seems that his nomination was a reward for these ‘favours’, and that too within a few months of his retirement.
  • People are fast losing confidence in the so-called independent judiciary.
  • The desire of a post-retirement job influences pre-retirement judgments. It is a threat to the independence of the Judiciary and once it influences pre-retirement judgments, it adversely impacts on the functioning of our Judiciary.
  • It is difficult to imagine that the Constitution-makers had in mind a retired CJI when framing this provision under Article 80(3) to nominate people having special knowledge in art, literature, science and social service by the President.

Powers and Independency of Judiciary in India

  • Chapter 4 of Part V of the Constitution deals with the Supreme Court, and Chapter 5 of Part VI deals with the High Courts. Hence they derive their power directly from the Constitution of India.
  • The salaries of judges and their age of retirement are all guaranteed in order to secure their independence.
  • They cannot be easily removed except by way of impeachment under Articles 124(4) and 217(1)(b).
  • They have the power to review legislation and strike it down. They can also question the acts of the executive.

Source: TH


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