The former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took oath as a member of Rajya Sabha today amid jeers and chants of 'shame' from the Congress and other opposition parties that believe the appointment smacks of quid pro quo and severely compromises on the independence of the judiciary.
All opposition parties except the Samajwadi Party walked out in protest in the middle of the oath.
'They will welcome me very soon,' Mr. Justice Gogoi said later, unfazed by the booing during his swearing in.
The Law Minister, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, came to Mr. Justice Gogoi's defence saying: 'Rajya Sabha has a great tradition of many eminent persons coming from diverse fields, including former Chief Justices. Justice Gogoi who has taken oath today will surely contribute his best. It was grossly unfair to do that (Congress walkout).'
The chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, the Vice President, Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu, said there were established rules and precedents for the appointment and the opposition was not right to behave this way.
Mr. Justice Gogoi, who retired as the top judge just four months ago, had defended taking up the role saying his presence in Parliament will 'be an opportunity to project the views of the judiciary before the legislative and vice versa"'.
The Trinamool Congress MP,Ms. Mahua Mioitra said Mr. Justice Gogoi had 'absolutely no shame' and added: 'He has denigrated the institution, he has denigrated all of India in the eyes of the world. It is shameful that a person who was chief justice is selling his soul for a house in Delhi, for a Rajya Sabha seat.'
Mr. Justice Gogoi was part of many landmark judgments, including the Ayodhya verdict in which the Supreme Court handed over the disputed site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims for a Ram temple and ordered a different site for a mosque.
The Congress has called Mr. Justice Gogoi's appointment a 'serious, unprecedented and unpardonable assault' on the basic structure of the Constitution.
'Our Constitution is based on separation of powers of the judiciary and the executive. The judiciary thrives on perception of aastha (belief) and vishwas (faith). But all of them have taken the beating,' said Congress's Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi.