Hours after Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s change in portfolio, the Union government on Thursday moved ministry Minister of State Prof Satya Pal Singh Baghel to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
This was necessitated after Arjun Ram Meghwal was made the Minister of State with Independent Charge of the Ministry of Law and Justice. According to convention, a ministry headed by a Minister of State with independent charge does not have a deputy.
A notification issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan said that President Droupadi Murmu, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was pleased to direct that Prof S.P. Singh Baghel was appointed as Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in place of Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice.
Earlier in the day, the Union of India had effected a major reshuffle in the Union Cabinet, replacing Law Minister Kiren Rijiju with Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Meghwal, who is currently the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Culture, was given the additional independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice.
A notification was issued in this regard by the Union of India, which said, “The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has been pleased to direct the following reallocation of portfolios among Ministers in the Union Council of Ministers :
-The portfolio of the Ministry of Earth Sciences will be assigned to Shri Kiren Rijiju.
-Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State be assigned the independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice in addition to his existing portfolios, in place of Shri Kiren Rijiju.”
Rijiju was appointed as the Union Law Minister on July 8, 2021, replacing Ravi Shankar Prasad. He had earlier served as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Youth Affairs and Sports from May 2019 to July 2021. He also served as the Minister of State for Minority Affairs during the same period.
Earlier, the MP from Arunachal West Lok Sabha constituency served as the Minister of State for Home Affairs (India) from 2014 to 2019.
Arjun Ram Meghwal has earlier served as the Chief Whip of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009 representing the Bikaner constituency in Rajasthan. Meghwal bagged the award for the Best Parliamentarian in 2013.
The development comes close on the heels of Rijiju passing adverse comments against the Supreme Court Collegium system for appointment of judges. The former Law Minister had said that the Collegium system of appointing judges was ‘opaque’ and ‘not transparent’.