Free judiciary from executive

The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, on Sunday notified the appointment of the Supreme Court’s retired judge Justice S Abdul Nazeer as the third governor of Andhra Pradesh. Syed Abdul Nazeer is a former judge of the Supreme Court and retired on 4 January this year. Justice Nazeer was part of many landmark judgments, including the triple talaq case, the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute, the demonetisation case, and the judgment that held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. His appointment raises serious question marks as many believe he has been rewarded for the Ayodhya verdict.

The five-bench judges who delivered the Ayodhya verdict included then chief justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Abdul Nazeer, Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice SA Bobde and present CJI, Justice DY Chandrachud. Interestingly, post retirement, the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi was nominated to the Rajya Sabha while Justice Ashok Bhushan was appointed as the full-time chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. Justice DY Chandrachud is now the CJI. There should be a gestation period after retirement for the judges to get political appointments. If not, people will continue to look at these appointments with suspicion. It is not only about SC judges but it should be applied to judges of all courts of the country. For the judiciary to remain free, they should remain out of the clutches of the executive. The fear that the executive will lure judiciary with post retirement benefits cannot be just washed off. This needs to be taken seriously, and a mechanism should be worked to avoid such a situation.