In a right institutional setup, the judicial decision-making is not affected by post-retirement appointments. Comment.

An independent and impartial judiciary is sine-quo-non for a democracy. Article 124(7) of the constitution debars a judge from pleading before any court/tribunal post retirement.

Rationale behind it:

  • Prevent quid-pro-quo, i.e. give and take between executive and judiciary.
  • Ensure impartial functioning of judiciary.
  • Check executive or outside influence on decisions.
  • “Justice should not only be done but also seen to be done”.

Apart from the constitutional provision, constitutional convention has also developed preventing judges from immediately opting for political/executive post after retirement.

  • For instance, Administrative reforms commission recommended cooling-off period.
  • Position consistent with other constitutional post like UPSC chairman, who is debarred from subsequently holding any government post.
  • Previously, judges who held post after retirement did after adequate cooling-off period to remove any doubt of partiality.
  • However, nomination of former chief justice Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha has raised concern. He delivered landmark judgement in favour of government including Ayodhya verdict.

Way forward:

Post-retirement jobs raises serious concerns over judicial independence and hence, must only be opted after sufficient cooling off period in accordance with well established past practice.

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