Has the last bastion fallen?

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi is expected to take oath as a Rajya Sabha member on Thursday. The former CJI was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by President of India Ram Nath Kovind on 16 March. Mr Gogoi headed benches that pronounced several key judgments, including in the sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case, Rafale fighter jet deal and entry of women in the Sabarimala temple. Most of these judgments were seen to be favourable to the ruling dispensation. His nomination just few months after retirement has kicked off a huge storm. His former colleagues have expressed serious concern over the development.
The debate over nomination is expected to only get heated in the days to come. Opposition parties have also criticized the move and raised concern claiming that it will hurt the image of the judiciary. The debate will rage on but there is no denying that nomination of Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha has badly dented the image of the judiciary. The independence of the judiciary is at stake now. The people of India have always looked up to the judiciary as a last resort to seek justice with the expectation that it functions independently. However, the nomination of Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha has potential to cause irreparable damage. Retired Judge Madan B Lokur, who is a former colleague of justice Gogoi, while reacting to the appointment, alleged that it will redefine the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary. He also questioned, “Has the last bastion fallen?” Perhaps the answer is ‘yes,’ if one goes by perception.