WHEN former Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra misbehaved in allocating jurisdiction in the Supreme Court, four senior-most judges, including Ranjan Gogoi, protested by holding an open press conference and speaking against Mishra.
But when Ranjan Gogoi (I refuse to call him ‘Justice’ as a sexual pervert does not deserve that appellation) committed much greater misconducts, of various kinds, and practically prostrated before the BJP Govt and handed over almost the entire Court to the political executive, giving up its solemn duty of protecting the rights of the people, not a single voice of open dissent was heard from any of the Supreme Court Judges.
When the disgraceful MISA judgment (ADM Jabalpur vs Shivakant Shukla) was delivered, there was at least the brave dissenting voice of Justice H. R. Khanna.
But when the shameful Ayodhya verdict was delivered it was unanimous.
Gogoi was of course a rogue and rascal, and a blot on the judiciary, but on the judicial side all judges are equals, and the Chief Justice is not their superior.
Why then did the other Judges surrender their consciences to this disgrace of a man, as is evident from these instances (among several others):
1. There were 5 Supreme Court Judges on the Ayodhya bench. It was of course expected of Gogoi to have done as he was told by the Union Govt.
Where were the inner voices and scruples of these other four Judges? Or had they handed them over to that blackguard, scoundrel and rapscallion Gogoi?
2. While rejecting the bail plea of Abhijit Iyer Mitra, Gogoi made the flippant and cruel remark "The safest place for you is jail".
Now it is well settled after the leading judgment of the celebrated Justice Krishna Iyer in State of Rajasthan vs Balchand that bail, not jail, is the normal rule to be followed by Indian courts, unless the accused is likely to abscond or tamper with the evidence or is accused of a heinous crime.
Abhijit (in pic
) had only tweeted a satirical remark about the Konark temple, for which too he had soon apologized. Surely this was a fit case for granting bail, yet the petition was rejected.
Gogoi of course was capable of not observing legal principles, but what about the other two judges on the bench with him? Why did they not dissent from Gogoi, and tell him this case deserved bail in view of the settled law? Why did they kowtow to him?
I remember when I was a judge of Allahabad High Court I once sat on a division bench with a senior judge, who started passing orders in cases which we had heard without consulting me. After he did this in two or three cases I told him this was not acceptable to me. I was an equal member of the bench, and must be consulted before any order was passed, otherwise I would not sign the orders. Why could the judges sitting with Gogoi not have told him the same?
3. In the case of Justice Akil Abdulhamid Kureshi, why did the four members of the SC Collegium go along with Gogoi and succumb before the BJP Govt who did not want a Muslim Chief Justice on the larger MP High Court, and instead sent him to the much smaller Tripura HC?
Gogoi was of course expected to toe the Government’s line, but what about the other four Judges in the Collegium? Where were their consciences?
4. The shoddy manner in which Justice Pradeep Nandrajog was treated is well known.
He was recommended unanimously by the five Judge SC Collegium for elevation to the Supreme Court, and all five Judges had signed the recommendation (as Justice Lokur, then member of the Collegium himself told me), but at the instance of his sambandhi Justice Valmiki Mehta, who was inimical to Justice Nandrajog (as is well known). Gogoi kept the recommendation in his pocket till Justice Lokur retired, and then got the recommendation recalled by a more pliable Collegium.
5. The shoddy manner in which the then CBI Director Alok Verma was treated by the SC bench headed by Gogoi is well known.
However, Gogoi was not the only Judge on the bench. What were the others doing when such a naked travesty of justice was being perpetrated?
Why were their voices mute, like Bheeshma Pitamah during the ‘cheer haran’ of Draupadi?
6. In the case of the lady clerk who alleged sexual molestation by Gogoi, the then Chief Justice himself sat on a three member bench constituted by him to hear the matter, along with two other Judges of the SC.
Gogoi did the drama of recusing himself from the hearing, but in that case the bench should have been broken up and the matter listed before another bench without Gogoi.
Why did the other two members on the bench acquiesce to this strange and egregious act of Gogoi continuing to sit on the bench after declaring his recusal?
Several other such shocking instances can be given. Gogoi was of course a villain, but why were the other judges in the Supreme Court mute like Bheeshma Pitamah during his tenure, seeing the ‘cheer haran’ of the Supreme Court?
Are they not equally culpable? Why did they not hold an open press conference to recount Gogoi’s misdeeds, as was done in the case of CJI Deepak Mishra?
These are grave questions to which the people of India need answers, else their faith in the judiciary, which is already greatly weakened, will totally disappear.