In fresh salvo, Law minister says judges don’t contest elections or face public scrutiny | The Financial Express

In fresh salvo, Law minister says judges don’t contest elections or face public scrutiny

Law minister Kiren Rijiju said that although people of the country cannot ‘change’ judges, they do keep a keen eye on the way judges deliver justice.

Kiren Rijiju, Election
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In a development that signals an escalation of the Centre’s tussle with the judiciary over the appointment of judges to Supreme Court and high courts, Union Law minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday said that, unlike politicians, judges do not contest elections or face public scrutiny. Yet, they are under public view over their actions and their judgment, the minister said addressing a Delhi Bar Association event in the national capital on Monday.

Since the people do not elect judges, they cannot “change” judges, contrary to the situation for politicians and governments. “However, the public is watching you (the judges). They keep a keen eye on your judgments, your way of work, the way you deliver justice… they assess and form opinions too. In the age of social media, you can’t hide anything,” he added.

Also Read: Kiren Rijiju clarifies on letter to CJI on judicial appointments: ‘How can govt nominee be part of Collegium?’

The remarks by the Law minister come amid an ongoing war of words between the Centre and Supreme Court on the issue of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. The government’s suggestion for greater transparency and more say in the appointment process has been shot down by the top court which has repeatedly faulted the government over the delay in appointments.

“Tomorrow, people will say the basic structure is also not a part of Constitution…. If every section of the society starts laying down which law is to be followed and which isn’t, then it will lead to a breakdown,” Justice SK Kaul of the Supreme Court had said in response to the government seeking a change in the Collegium system of appointments.

Addressing the gathering today, Rijiju further said that the CHief Justice of India has asked the government to act against those who resort to abusing judges on social media.

Also Read: Centre writes to CJI, seeks govt nominee on panel to shortlist Supreme Court and HC judges

“Since the judges have their own limitations of not being able to defend themselves against the backlash they often face on social media, the CJI has requested the government to act upon this,” Rijiju added. The Law minister’s statement comes a day after he endorsed the views of former Supreme Court judge Justice RM Sodhi who said that the right to frame laws lies with Parliament and the apex court cannot frame laws as it does not have the right to do so. The judge, however, shot back and advised the Centre not to shoot off its shoulder.

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First published on: 23-01-2023 at 22:05 IST