On judges and bureaucrats joining politics | Explained

La Excellence IAS Academy

On judges and bureaucrats joining politics | Explained

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La Excellence IAS Academy | March 14, 2024 | Ethics

Syllabus: GS-IV, Subject: Ethics, Topic: Probity in Governance, Issue: Resolving conflict of interest


  • The joining of political parties by independent constitutional authorities and senior government officials after leaving office has raised concerns about propriety.

 Constitutional restrictions to ensure Probity:

  • Retired Supreme Court judges cannot appear as lawyers in any court in India,
  • High Court judges face similar restrictions except for appearances before the Supreme Court or other High Courts.
  • CAG and Public Service Commission members cannot take up employment with Central or State governments post-retirement.
  • However, there are no restrictions on joining political parties, contesting elections, or being nominated to political posts after demitting office.

 Issue of cooling off period:

  • Election Commission recommended cooling-off period for retired bureaucrats in 2012.
  • Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition seeking cooling-off period, stating that it is legislature’s job to decide on this.


  • Cooling-off period for contesting elections may not align with democratic principles, as it is the right of every citizen to contest elections.
  • Yet, it is crucial to uphold the principle of justice being seen to be done, applicable even after officials demit office.

Source: The Hindu

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