Plea in SC challenging ex CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s Rajya Sabha Membership

Plea in SC challenging ex CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s Rajya Sabha Membership

A plea has been filed before the SC challenging the nomination of Ranjan Gogoi – former CJI as a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha. It pleads the issuance of the writ of quo warranto against the respondent (Gogoi) summoning him to show by what authority, title and qualifications, does he holds the membership by nomination under Article 80 (1) ( a) read with (3) of the Constitution and after investigation, remove him from membership with or without retrospective effect.

It also seeks that the notification relating to Gogoi’s nomination as published in the Official Gazette of India – Extraordinary – Part II – Section 3 – Subsection (ii) of 16 March 2020 and the notification published in terms of section 71 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 in the Official Gazette of India – Extraordinary – Part II – Section 3 Subsection (ii) be nullified.

Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi who is a nominated Member of Parliament (Council of States) in the Rajya Sabha was nominated by the President of India on 16 March 2020 by a notification which was published in the Official Gazette of India.

Ranjan Gogoi has served as the 46th CJI after his appointment in October 2018 and retired on November 17, 2019.

The petition which is filed by Satish S. Kambiye- a social worker and a lawyer, states that according to the respondent’s biodata available on the website of Parliament – Council of States, he neither has authored any book nor has published anything relevant, and he has no contributions towards  Social and Cultural Activities, Artistic, Literary, Scientific Accomplishments and other Special Interests.

Article 80 (1) (a) in accordance with Article 80 (3) states that President has the power to nominate twelve members to the Council of States and the members shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of science, art, literature, and social service. In this backdrop, the petition alleges that the nomination is erroneous and illegal since the condition mentioned for nomination under Article 80 (1) (a) read with (3) of the Constitution has not been complied with by the respondent.

In addition, following the nomination of the respondent, the petitioner had applied to the central public Information Officer, President of India, New Delhi on June 12, 2020, under section 6 of the RTI Act, 2005 to obtain information relating to the respondent’s nomination.

The RTI application has been referred to the Department of Home Affairs, CS Division, Government of India, New Delhi for consideration, the plea adds.

It is submitted that the response received by the petitioner on July 24 does not contain any details of the materials on which the President relied to ascertain or judge the respondent’s qualification.

The plea also relies on the cases where the SC ruled that a writ of quo warranto can be issued if the appointment is opposed to the statutory laws.

It thus seeks that an ad-interim order may be issued in the nature of stay order to suspend the force, effect, and operation of the notification published in the Official Gazette of India regarding Gogoi’s nomination by the president.