Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday took oath as a nominated member of Rajya Sabha amidst unprecedented scenes of opposition members shouting slogans and walking out of the House.
This is the first time ever that the House has witnessed slogan shouting and walkout during oath-taking.
Ranjan Gogoi, 65, who retired as the Chief Justice of India in November last year after a tenure of 13 months, took oath in English in the name of God.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu ordered that the slogan-shouting will not go on record.
As Ranjan Gogoi took the oath, Congress, Left and their allies shouted slogans and staged a walkout from the House.
After taking the oath, Ranjan Gogoi walked up to the chair to greet Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who responded to his greetings with folded hands.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said members have the liberty to express their views outside the House on the issue.
“You know the Constitutional provision, you know the precedent, you know the power of the President,” he said.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was among the first to greet Ranjan Gogoi when he entered the House minutes before the proceedings began, said what opposition members did was grossly unfair.
“This House has a great tradition of having many eminent persons coming from diverse fields including former justices nominated by those who have shouted today,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
“Hon’ble member Ranjan Gogoi, who has taken oath today, will surely contribute his best as a nominated member. And it was grossly unfair to do like this,” he said. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said, “We must respect a member.”
Ranjan Gogoi was nominated to Rajya Sabha by President Ram Nath Kovind.
He was nominated in the vacancy created after the retirement of KTS Tulsi.
Earlier, Ranjan Gogoi entered the House from the Chairman’s chamber and greeted members present with folded hands.
During Gogoi’s 13-month tenure, the Supreme Court delivered landmark judgements in the Ayodhya case, on the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the entry of women in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple and the Rafale jet deal along with Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The Congress has argued that Ranjan Gogoi’s nomination to Rajya Sabha within four months of his retirement will shake the confidence and faith people have in the independence of the judiciary.
The party has also tried to distinguish between Ranjan Gogoi’s nomination and that of some of his predecessors’ entry into the Rajya Sabha six to seven years after their retirement.
(With inputs from PTI)