On Monday, news pour in that the President may nominate former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha. The political twitter burst with opinions and counter opinions criticizing the move. One pertinent question that surfaced over and over again was that, with his nomination, is the Ayodhya puzzle now complete?
Ranjan Gogoi will be remembered by history as the first person from the North East to rise to the highest rank in the judicial system of the country. However, he will also be remembered for the controversial judgment of the age-long land dispute of Ayodhya.
Ayodhya has long been the go-to issue for the BJP to bank votes in the Hindi heartland region. Ever since the Babri Masjid demolition, BJP has repeatedly promised their voters on the construction of a new Ram temple at his alleged birthplace by publishing that in their manifesto election after election. With Narendra Modi coming to power in the center and Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh, both known to be right-wing leaders, the Hindu fraction were confident of victory this time around. The matter, however, was in the court.
The Ayodhya Puzzle
Ranjan Gogoi made his mark in the history books on November 9th 2019 when he presided over a five-judge bench that passed the Ayodhya verdict and brought an end to the dispute that dates itself back to 1950. As per the verdict, the Hindus were set to be given the disputed land of 2.77 acres and a separate 5 acre land to the Muslims to build a mosque.
For many, this came as a surprise. While it aligned with the popular sentiment, the credibility of Gogoi was questioned and so was his bias. Although publicly Gogoi has never exposed his bias, the nomination to Rajya Sabha excites a lot of opinions.
The crucial part of the judgment was the aftermath of it. While there was a complete disregard of him acknowledging that the demolition was a criminal act, the public and the BJP government at the center celebrated it to be the victory of them over the others. The government was nonchalantly crediting themselves for a verdict of a supposedly independent court.
Gogoi had also given a clean chit to the Modi government twice on the Rafale deal and also went onto punish Rahul Gandhi for his chowkidaar remark. The criticism also comes from the fact that Gogoi was also accused of sexual harassment from which he was cleared later.
While such nominations have happened in the past, the current image of the government and its prestige is bound to be answerable to outrageous yet important accusations on the nomination of Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha just months after his retirement and months after he delivered the Ayodhya verdict.