The Congress on Tuesday accused the government of making a serious assault on the basic structure of the Constitution by nominating former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha, saying the act subsumes the independence of the judiciary.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also said the action has hit the faith and belief that people had in judiciary.
The Congress leader also used the remarks made by late BJP leader Arun Jaitley to attack the government saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have at least paid heed to the words of their own leader before nominating the former CJI.
"The Congress finds the nomination of a retired chief justice to the Rajya Sabha as one of the most serious, unprecedented and unpardonable assaults on the basic structure of the Constitution, which subsumes independence of judiciary as held by Supreme Court judgments," Singhvi told reporters.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also asked whether Modi considered the advice of his late law minister before nominating Gogoi.
"Did PM Modi consider the advice of his former colleague and Law Minister and Finance Minister, late Arun Jaitley before recommending former CJI Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha?" he asked on Twitter.
"Justice Lokur rightly summarises it-'Has the last bastion fallen?" Surjewala said in another tweet.
Singhvi said that Modi could have adhered to Jaitley's advice in this regard and he also highlighted and shared the 2012 remarks of the minister on having a cooling off period for judges to head tribunals.
He said that Modi, Union minister Amit Shah should have listened to Jaitley's remarks if they were bot listening to the Congress.
"Did he not speak and write against post retirement largesse to judges? Do u remember," he said .
"...Courts function on faith trust perception and faith. Each has taken a bad beating today," he said.
The Congress leader said our judiciary thrives, strengthens, works and prospers on perception, on faith, on belief, but "all of these pillars on which the judiciary stands have taken a beating yesterday".
"These pillars matter more than the reality and actuality and when this is shaken in the minds of the public, the institution is decimated," he noted.
Singhvi also sought to dispel "propaganda by the BJP" that the Congress governments in the past have also nominated former CJIs to the Rajya Sabha.
He cited the case of Ranganath Mishra saying the former chief justice was appointed six years after his retirement, while M Hidayatullah was appointed as chairman of the Rajya Sabha and vice president, nine years after his retirement as Chief Justice of India.
He claimed that the dirty tricks department of the ruling party gives completely inapplicable and misleading examples whose only objective is to "derail, divert and digress, to mislead you, to fool you and to think that the people of this country eat grass and are ready to be fooled".
Singhvi said it was not about Justice Gogoi, whom he considered one of the brightest judges, but was about the principled stand.
"That principle is that our Constitution is based on a separation of power, in particular a separation between the judiciary on the one side and the executive and legislature on the other. This is a pillar of our constitutional jurisprudence."
"I leave it to you to judge that are you not putting a question mark on the most dynamic and vibrant institutional pillar of Indian democracy? You-the government, are responsible. It is an institutional issue, not a person-based issue," he said.
Raising the issue of cooling off period, as pointed out by Jaitley, Singhvi asked whether a period of four months in Gogoi's case was not an invitation to the public to put a question mark on the faith and a complete 'aastha' and 'vishwas' in the judiciary, which is the most important pillar of our democracy.
Quoting Jaitley, he said, "Pre-retirement judgments are influenced by a desire for a post-retirement job."
"For two years after retirement, there should be a gap because otherwise the government can directly or indirectly influence the courts and the dream to have an independent, impartial and fair judiciary in the country would never actualise," Singhvi said quoting Jaitley.