SC dismisses plea seeking cooling-off period for retired judges before accepting political appointments

 The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking a “cooling-off period” of two years for retired judges of the apex court and high courts before they can accept political appointments.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia said the issue whether a retired judge should accept any office or not has to be left to the “better sense” of the judge concerned.

The bench said it cannot go into the issue of whether an ex-judge can get elected to the Lok Sabha or nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

“The issue whether a retired judge should accept any office or not has to be left to the better sense of the judge concerned or a law to be brought into force, but cannot form a subject matter of direction under Article 32 of the Constitution,” the bench said while dismissing the plea.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner association said the lack of such a provision was creating a misconception in the public mind.

“What is a political appointment?” the bench asked the counsel.

“It is all frivolous. It is up to the judge to say whether he wants to decline or does not decline,” the bench said.

The bench asked the petitioner whether the top court can say nobody should take up a job at a tribunal after retirement.

The counsel said the petitioner is talking about only those appointments that depend on the discretion of the executive for which there should be a two year-cooling off period.

Observing that a lot of things are left to the discretion of the judge, the bench said the petitioner has picked up one case. It, however, mentioned no name in the court.

“You don’t want a particular person to become Governor …,” the bench said.

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