Outgoing Chief Justice of India Justice RM Lodha said no judge should accept a post retirement government job or constitutional office and added that there should be a two year cooling off period.
“My view is Chief Justice of India or Supreme Court judges or Chief Justice of High Court should not accept any constitutional post or government assignment. There should be cooling off period of two years,” Chief Justice Lodha said.
The Chief Justice said to avoid such situations, there is a need to scrap the laws that require Tribunals and Commissions to be headed by judges.
Chief Justice Lodha was interacting with media on his last day in office. One of the last verdicts delivered by a bench led by Chief Justice Lodha was the cancelling all but four of 218 coal block allocations by the government over the past two decades.
Justice Lodha’s predecessor, Justice P Sathasivam, was earlier this month caught in a controversy when he was appointed Governor of Kerala, soon after his retirement. Justice Sathasivam was Chief Justice of India from August last year to April.
The Congress had alleged that Justice Sathasivam’s appointment is linked to a case involving BJP president Amit Shah.
Just before his term ended, Justice Sathasivam was on the Supreme Court bench that scrapped a second FIR or police complaint against Amit Shah in a fake encounter killing case in Gujarat, saying it was linked to the bigger Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case and did not need to be separate.
Justice Sathasivam denies any “quid pro quo” for his decision on Mr. Shah.
When asked whether former chief justices of India should accept post-retirement benefits or posts, he had said, “It is an opportunity to utilize my experience. Nothing wrong. There’s no bar to accepting constitutional positions. Only Lokpal chairperson cannot take any such positions after retirement”.