"Don't Remember Electoral Bonds Case": Rajya Sabha MP And Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi

This comes after a bench headed by Ranjan Gogoi, last year, had called the electoral bonds case a "weighty issue (which) would require an in-depth hearing."

23 March 2020 11:45 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-03-23T17:23:14+05:30
Dont Remember Electoral Bonds Case: Rajya Sabha MP And Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi

Rajya Sabha MP and former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi avoided questions pertaining to the delay in the hearing of the case challenging the constitutional validity of the anonymous electoral bond scheme which has been in the Supreme Court since 2017. "Electoral bond issue, I don't remember, frankly," he said in a recent interview with Times Now.

This comes after a bench headed by Ranjan Gogoi, last year, had called the electoral bonds case a "weighty issue (which) would require an in-depth hearing."

There has been increased pressure on the judiciary regarding the denial of the apex court to give a verdict on the petitions, which claim that the electoral bonds have attracted huge illegal benefits to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) through transfer of unaccounted money.

The petitions were filed in 2017 opposing the provisions of Finance Act 2017, which allowed the transfer of electoral bonds.

The Finance Act 2017 paved fresh amendments in Reserve Bank of India Act, Companies Act, Income Tax Act, Representation of Peoples Act and Foreign Contributions Regulations Act for electoral bonds.

The case, however, surfaced only by March 2019, a time when majority of the electoral bonds had already been purchased.

An electoral bond is a promissory note purchased by an individual, firm or company and later transferred to a political party, which can get it converted into money from the State Bank of India.

The bond is absolutely anonymous as it neither carries the name of the buyer nor the payee.

The top court had heard the 2017 petition seeking a stay on electoral bonds only in April 2019. It had denied giving a judgement on the issue, stating that the case demanded an in-depth hearing. It did not put an interim stay on the contentious scheme either.

On April 12, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court consisting of then CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had asked the political parties to submit the details of donations received to the Election Commission of India in sealed cover by May 30.

"I Did Not Change"

In 2018, Justice Gogoi was in-line to be CJI. Several Supreme Court judges had expressed reservations about then-CJI Dipak Misra's way of functioning.

In the recent interview with Times Now, Gogoi said that the same people who had lauded him as a good judge ended up criticising him later.

"Justice Gogoi, he was good after the press conference. Somewhere down the line, he became a rotten apple," former CJI said, referring to himself in third person.

"I did not change..20 years of my judgeship, I did not change," he said. "The perceptions changed because I remained constant."

Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was nominated for Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, by President Ram Nath Kovind, on Monday, March 16.

Justice Gogoi retired in November 2019, after presiding over the Supreme Court for around 13 months.

As the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi had delivered several landmark judgements including the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case and the women's entry into Sabarimala temple. He also led a bench that monitored and ensured that National Register Of Citizens(NRC) exercise in Assam.

Also Read: Why Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi's Nomination To Rajya Sabha Cause Of Worry For Judiciary

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