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SC dismisses PIL seeking 2-yr cooling-off period before judges accept political appointments

SC dismisses PIL seeking 2-yr cooling-off period before judges accept political appointments

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking to fix a two-year cooling-off period for judges of the apex court and high courts for taking any political appointment post-retirement.

The petition filed by the Bombay Lawyers Association under Article 32 of the Constitution was deemed "frivolous" by a bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia, adding that the issue should be left to the better sense of the judge concerned unless a law is made by Parliament in this regard.

The plea filed through advocate Manish Kumar Gupta said that this cooling-off period was needed to uphold the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and principles of reasonableness as well as suppression of power to save the democratic principles and the basic aim and objectives of the Constitution.

The petition sought a declaration that after retirement, there should be a two-year gap for the judges of the constitutional courts to accept any political appointment from the government.

It also said the government is not likely to bring any law prescribing the cooling-off period for judges, and accepting political appointments adversely affects “public perception about the independence of the judiciary".

Notably, former Supreme Court judge Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, who demitted his office in January this year, took oath as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh within two months after he retired.

In March 2020, former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the government.

Both Justice Gogoi and Justice Nazeer were on the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court which had delivered the verdict in the Ayodhya case in November 2019.

With IANS inputs

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