Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju created a fresh controversy amid the ongoing controversy over the judicial reforms and the collegium debate.
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What did he say on the topic of judges?
While addressing the republic day celebration of the Delhi Bar association the Union law minister said “There is no public scrutiny of judges. Once they become judges, they don’t face elections,” he further added, “I have not written any letter with the intention of any government interference with Collegium”. He also clarified that the letter was just a follow-up letter sent to the judges on the basis of the direction the Constitution bench gave in 2015.
He went onto say “People are watching you… the judgments you give, how you work… In this age of social media, you can’t hide anything,” he said.
Kiren Rijiju had advocated for the inclusion of a government official in the process of collegium
While addressing the Judges he questioned that if there will no be debate in a democracy and democracy, then where they would happen? He also said due to the current situation people are thinking there is a Mahabharat going on between he government and judiciary.
Changes since 1947 in the field of law
He also highlighted the various changes that have occurred in the field of law since 1947. Kiren Rijiju said “Changes are dynamic, and one should never think that a system that is in place will never change.” “That is why there have been more than 100 amendments to the Constitution,” he remarked.
Is it a follow up statement after Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar’s question on the judiciary? Recently in an event the Vice President had questioned the landmark 1973 Kesavananda Bharati case verdict that gave the basic structure doctrine. Mr. Dhankhar had said the verdict set a bad precedent and if any authority questions Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution, it would be difficult to say “we are a democratic nation”.
What was the reply of the Chief Justice of India to the question of the Vice President?
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Saturday called the basic structure doctrine a North Star that guides and gives certain direction to the interpreters and implementers of the Constitution when the path ahead is convoluted. He attributed the famous words of renount eminent Jurist Nani Palkhivala -“Nani told us that our Constitution has a certain identity which cannot be altered.” He said the doctrine of basic structure has shown that it might be beneficial for a judge to look at how other jurisdictions have dealt with similar problems for them.
How has the opposition reacted to the statement by the Law Minister?
The Aam Aadmi Party National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the statement by Rijiju an attempt to capture the judiciary. Reacting to the remarks, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal wrote, “Rijiju: Another gem, “The Modi government has not taken a single step to undermine the judiciary. ”, Are all your controversial statements meant to strengthen the judiciary? You might believe it. We, the lawyers, don’t.
What goes ahead?
With the tussle between the government and the legal body not appearing to be solved, it is not healthy for democracy. People trust the judiciary because it is independent of the government authorities. There are many such concerns that must be addressed by the government before making any changes to the collegium statement.