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SC rejects PIL for judges' post-retirement cooling-off period

The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking cooling-off period for the retired judges of the apex court before they take up next assignment.

The issue of cooling-off period is being debated by the legal fraternity after former Chief Justice of India P Sathasivanm accepted the governorship of Kerala shortly after his retirement.

The petition argued that a retired judge of the apex court cannot practice before any court in the country and judges accepting to work with the government poorly reflected on the independence of judiciary.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justice SA Bobde and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre dismissed the plea by the petitioner Ali Bangalore alias Muhammed Ali that any such engagement by the retired judges with the government, directly or indirectly influenced the working of the judiciary and its independence.

Counsel for petitioner Muhammed Ali told the court the former judges accepting assignment with the government was not proper as it directly or indirectly influenced the working of the judiciary and its independence - which is the basic feature of the constitution.

Counsel referred to various newspapers reports, including that of the Law Commission, in support of his contention.

Interestingly, on his last working day in the Supreme Court, former Chief Justice RM Lodha advocated two years’ cooling-off period after retirement before the judges of the higher judiciary could pick up any assignment with the government.

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