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On judges and bureaucrats joining politics

Why is it in the news?

  • The recent actions of a Calcutta High Court judge and a senior IPS officer in West Bengal resigning from their posts to join political parties have reignited concerns regarding the propriety of independent constitutional authorities and senior government officials entering politics after leaving office.
  • This has prompted scrutiny over the intersection of constitutional roles and political affiliations post-retirement.


More about the news

  • The Constitution ensures checks and balances between various branches of government.
  • Independent bodies like the judiciary, Election Commission, etc., have fixed tenures, financial independence, and stringent removal procedures to maintain their independence.
  • After demitting office, judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, along with officials like the CAG and Public Service Commission members, have restrictions on taking up government employment to prevent favouritism.
  • However, there are no restrictions on joining political parties, contesting elections, or being nominated to certain posts after leaving constitutional positions.
  • The Election Commission recommended a cooling-off period for top bureaucrats before joining politics.
  • However, imposing a cooling-off period on officials joining politics after retirement may not align with democratic principles. Therefore, suggestions for a cooling-off period of at least two years post-retirement are proposed to instil public confidence and avoid allegations of quid pro quo.


  • Balancing the need for independence and neutrality during service with the democratic right of citizens to contest elections is essential.
  • Further, recommendations for a post-retirement cooling-off period aims to uphold public trust and prevent potential conflicts of interest.

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