From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nominated members in RS
Mains level : Ethical issue involved
Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi has been nominated as a member of Rajya Sabha.
Nominated members in RS
- As per the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution of India on 26 January 1950, the Rajya Sabha was to consist of 216 members of which 12 members were to be nominated by the President and the remaining 204 elected to represent the States.
- The present strength, however, is 245 members of whom 233 are representatives of the states and union territories and 12 are nominated by the President.
- The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; one-third of its members retire every second year.
- The 12 nominated members of the Rajya Sabha are persons who are eminent in particular fields, and are well known contributors in the particular field.
- The nominated members are usually amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art and social service.
- 80(1)(a) of Constitution of India makes provision for the nomination of 12 members to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India in accordance with provisions of Arts.80(3).
- 80(3) says that the persons to be nominated as members must be possessing special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following namely : Literature, science, art and social service.
Earlier CJIs in other Offices
- Justice Hidayatullah was appointed vice-president nine years after his tenure as CJI ended (1979).
- Justice Ranganath Mishra was appointed six years after his retirement (1998).
- Justice Bahraul Islam served as a member of the Rajya Sabha several years before he was elevated to the SC (1983).
- Justice Subba Rao, who contested for the post of president (and lost to Zakir Hussain) was roundly criticised for the decision at that time.
Issues with CJI’s appointment
- Late Arun Jaitley cautioned, in 2012, that “pre-retirement judgments are influenced by a desire for a post-retirement job”. Perhaps, those words were never more relevant than they are today.
- The immediacy and hurried nature of the present appointment, barely four months after Justice Gogoi retired, is bound to give rise to questions about its context.
- It was a tenure that inspired much scrutiny; a tenure which saw the repeated use of sealed envelopes, the contents of which were known only to the government; a tenure which recorded a significant and frequent number of judgments in favour of the executive.
What were the alternatives?
- Several appointments to administrative bodies require a cooling-off period for individuals so as to eliminate the possibility or suspicion of a conflict of interest or quid pro quo.
- Officials who retire from sensitive positions are barred from accepting any other appointment for a period of time, normally two years.
- These cooling-off periods in posts are premised on the snapping off of the nexus between previous incumbency and new appointment by the interposition of a sufficient time gap.