NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea for fixing a cooling-off period of two years for SC and HC judges before accepting any political appointment, saying it was up to a judge to take a call on accepting such an appointment and it was for the government to frame a law.
“Whether a judge should accept an appointment is best left to the discretion of the judge concerned, or a law may be brought to regulate the same,” a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia said while dismissing the petition.
The court noted that there were many constitutional and statutory posts which had to be manned by retired judges of the Supreme Court and high courts. “Governor is a constitutional post. Tribunal appointments should also be stopped then?” the bench said.
The lawyer appearing for the petitioner said the plea talked about only those appointments that depended on the discretion of the executive, for which there should be a two year-cooling off period.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by the Bombay Lawyers’ Association that submitted that retired judges accepting political appointments was creating a wrong perception and that judges should not be allowed to accept such jobs for two years after retirement.
“Unless these constitutional courts are perceived by citizenry as independent and impartial, free from any kind of influence of the executive and any other form of economic, political and social considerations, the enforcement of fundamental rights would remain only statute book as dead letters,” the plea stated.
The President of India had appointed former SC judge Justice S Abdul Nazeer as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, a month after he demitted office. Former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha after his retirement.

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