“The acceptance of nomination as a member of Rajya Sabha by a former Chief Justice of India, has certainly shaken the confidence of the common man on the independence of the judiciary, which is also one of the basic structures of the Constitution of India,” said former Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph.
Slamming the move, Justice Joseph underscored that he came out in public in an unprecedented move along with Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur to tell the nation that there was a threat to this foundation and now that he felt the threat is at large. “This was also the reason why I decided not to take up any posts after retirement,” pointed out Justice Joseph.
In January 2018, Justices Gogoi, Lokur, Chelameswar, and Joseph had called a press conference to question the allotment of cases and conduct of then CJI Dipak Misra. They also had revealed to the public a letter that they had written to the then CJI Justice Dipak Misra a couple of months earlier.
“‘We have discharged our debt to the nation’ was the statement made by Justice Ranjan Gogoi along with the three of us on January 2018. I am surprised as to how Justice Ranjan Gogoi who once exhibited such courage of conviction to uphold the independence of the judiciary, has compromised the noble principles on the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary,” added Justice Joseph.
He believes that the nation is firmly grounded on the basic structures and Constitutional values, thanks mainly to the independent judiciary.
“The moment this confidence of the people is shaken, the moment there is a perception that a section among Judges are otherwise biased or looking forward, the tectonic alignment of the nation built on solid foundations is shaken. Only to strengthen this alignment, the collegium system was introduced by the Supreme Court in 1993 to make the judiciary completely independent and not interdependent,” added Justice Joseph.
It’s important to note here that Justice Joseph was a member of the Constitution Bench which struck down the 99th Constitutional Amendment which introduced the NJAC to replace the collegium system of judicial appointments to constitutional courts.