Saturday, January 28, 2023

SC slams Rijiju for ‘alien’ remark on judges’ appointment

The Supreme Court on Monday disapproved of a remark made by Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on the collegium system of appointing judges. Slamming the remarks, the top court said “it should not have happened” and also pointed out Centre’s delay in appointments in the higher judiciary, reports NEWS18.
SC’s rap comes days after Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, at a TV event, had hit out at the mechanism to appoint Supreme Court and high court judges, saying the collegium system is “alien” to the Constitution. “Mr. Attorney General, I have ignored all press reports, but this has come from somebody high enough also with an interview… I am not saying anything else. If we have to, we will take a decision,” said Justice Kaul to Attorney General R Venkataramani who was representing the Central government.
“We expect Solicitor General and Attorney General to ensure that law of the land laid down by this court is followed,” said the Supreme Court.
“It appears that the government is unhappy that the NJAC did not pass Constitutional muster,” SC added. The Supreme Court in its wisdom, through a court ruling, created collegium, he said noting that before 1991 all judges were appointed by the government.
Speaking at the Times Now Summit here, the minister said the Constitution of India is a “religious document” for everyone, especially the government. “Anything which is alien to the Constitution merely because of the decision taken by the courts or some judges, how do you expect that the decision will be backed by the country,” he asked.
Rijiju said the collegium system is alien to our Constitution. “You tell me under which provision the collegium system has been prescribed,” he asked. He explained that once the Supreme Court or a high court collegium sends recommendation, the government has to do due diligence.
Rijiju was responding to a question on government “sitting” on various Supreme Court collegium recommendations at a time when cases are piling up in courts. He also said there are loopholes in the collegium system and “people are raising voices” that the system is not transparent. “Also there is no accountability,” he added. He said one should never say government is sitting on files.

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