Monday, September 25, 2023

Modi govt accused of hijacking judiciary after doing so much for courts, judges: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju

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Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju praised the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking initiative and working for the improvement of courts and facilities for judges. He, however, said even after so much of work, the PM is still accused of hijacking the judiciary.

Appearing on the TV show Aap ki Adalat, Rijiju talked about all that PM Modi has done in 8.5 years to improve facilities for judges by making court halls, lawyers chambers etc.

The Law Minister said the Centre approved Rs 9,000 crore for the judiciary, which no other government has done.

Rijiju rued that even after doping so much for the judiciary, the government is blamed for hijacking judiciary. There is a problem with the thinking of such critics, he said.

He cited the example of the Congress which during the Emergency had attempted to control judiciary while Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister.

Rijiju talked about how the committed judiciary argument came during the regime of PM Indira Gandhi. The law minister added how during the Emergency, the seniority of a senior judge was ignored and a junior superseded him. Emergency was declared and judiciary was controlled and they blame us now, he said.

On the Supreme Court Collegium controversy, the Law Minister said the Collegium should not have disclosed confidential information furnished by intelligence agencies about candidates recommended for judgeship.

Recently the Collegium had published statements containing reasons given by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to oppose candidature of certain persons for judgeship. 

The Collegium had in its resolutions also given detailed response to the reasons cited by the government.

When questioned that the judges have said they put it in the public domain for transparency, Rijiju said the measure of transparency is always different. He explained by saying that things in national interest sometimes should not be disclosed in public domain and there are things which should be said in public domain.

The Law Minister clearly said that he does not intend to further comment on the issue but will address the same in an appropriate forum.

When Rijiju was asked about certain cases of appointment, including that of Senior Advocate Saurabh Kirpal, pending even after Supreme Court Collegium has brushed aside reports regarding his sexual orientation and a partner of Swiss nationality, the Minister said the process of judges appointment is a confidential one and there are things which we cannot discuss in public. But whatever Central government decides it is well thought of.

Rijiju agreed that judges in India are indeed overworked and do need vacations and breaks. He added that judges here in India cannot be compared with those abroad as their workload is several times that of a judge abroad.

Clarifying his point, the Law Minister added that the judges abroad hear one case per day, whereas judges hear 50 to 60 cases minimum per day. So they also need time to rejuvenate and if they don’t rest, then they can also collapse.

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