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From KS Hegde To Abhijit Gangopadhyay, Meet Judges Who Quit Judiciary To Join Politics

Calcutta High Court Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, who recently announced retirement and said that he will join the BJP, has again brought back to light former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement that pre-retirement judgements get influenced by the post-retirement jobs. Justice Gangopadhyay is not the first judge to join politics as the list has several big names. 

KS Hegde

Kawdoor Sadananda Hegde was born on 11 June 1909 in the village Kawdoor of Karkala Taluk in South Kanara district of the erstwhile State of Mysore. He began his legal profession in 1933 and worked as a Government Pleader and Public Prosecutor during the period 1947-51. Hegde was elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Congress Party nominee in 1952. Hegde served in the Upper House till 1957. In 1957, Hegde resigned from the Rajya Sabha when he was appointed a Judge of the Mysore High Court. He was later elevated to the Supreme Court. On 30 April 1973, Hegde tendered his resignation when one of his junior colleagues was appointed as the Chief Justice of India. In 1977, he was elected to the Sixth Lok Sabha from the Bangalore South constituency on a Janata Party ticket and was made the Speaker of the Sixth Lok Sabha. 

Baharul Islam

Baharul Islam, a former judge of the Supreme Court, made a significant career shift by resigning six weeks before his scheduled retirement. In 1983, he entered the political arena and contested the Lok Sabha elections as a Congress candidate from Barpeta in Assam. Before this, he had a political stint when he was elected to the Rajya Sabha on April 3, 1962, as a Congress candidate and secured another term in 1968. He resigned from the Rajya Sabha on January 20, 1972, accepting an appointment as a judge in the Gauhati High Court. Later, on December 4, 1980, he was elevated to the position of a Supreme Court judge. On January 13, 1983, Baharul Islam resigned from his position and got the Congress nomination from Barpeta for the Lok Sabha elections. However, due to unrest caused by the Assam agitation, the election in Barpeta had to be postponed. Despite this, the Congress accommodated Islam once again by making him the Rajya Sabha MP in 1983.

VR Krishna

Justice V R Krishna Iyer was born on 15th November 1915 a Palakkad, in the Malabar region of the then Madras State. In 1956, he was elected initially to the Madras Legislative Assembly and later, after the reorganisation of States, to the Kerala Assembly, where he was appointed as Minister in charge of important portfolios, like Home, Law, Social Welfare, etc. He was appointed as a Judge of the Kerala High Court in 1968. He was a Member of the Law Commission from 1971 to 1973. He was appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court of India in 1973.  He was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan in 1999.

Mohammad Hidayatullah

Justice Md. Hidayatullah was born on 17th December 1905 at Betul in the erstwhile Central Provinces and Berar. He was appointed Additional Judge of Central Provinces and Berar High Court (now Madras HC) on 24th June 1946. He was appointed as Permanent Judge of the High Court on 13th September 1946. On 3rd December 1954, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. On 1st December 1958, he was elevated to the Supreme Court and became the Chief Justice of India on 25th February 1968. He retired from that high office on 17th December 1970. Justice Hidayatullah was sworn in as the Acting President of India on 20th July 1969. After his retirement as the Chief Justice of India, he was unanimously elected as the Vice President of India between 1979 to 1984. During his tenure as Vice President, he also acted as the President in 1982.

Rangnath Mishra

Justice Ranganath Misra was appointed as a Permanent Judge of the Orissa High Court in 1969. He was elevated as an acting Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court on November 6th 1980. He then became the permanent Chief Justice on 16 January 1981. Justice Misra was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court on March 15th 1983. He became the 21st Chief Justice of India on 25 September 1990. After his retirement, he became the first Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission. He became a Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha from the Congress Party, serving between 1998 and 2004. 

Koka Subba Rao

Koka Subba Rao, the former Chief Justice of India (CJI), assumed the role of CJI on June 30, 1966. In 1967, the Swatantra Party extended an invitation to him to be the United Opposition’s candidate for the presidential election in India. Subba Rao, accepting the nomination a day later, entered the presidential race. Unfortunately, he faced defeat as the Congress candidate Zakir Hussain emerged victorious in the election.

Ranjan Gogoi

Justice Ranjan Gogoi was born on 18th November 1954. He was appointed as Permanent Judge of Gauhati High Court on 28th February 2001 and was transferred to Punjab & Haryana High Court on 9th September 2010. He was appointed Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court on 12th February 2011. Justice Gogoi was elevated to the Supreme Court on 23rd April, 2012 and was appointed as The Chief Justice of India on 03.10.2018. He is currently a Member of the Rajya Sabha, having been nominated by then President Ram Nath Kovind on 16 March 2020.

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