Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the government will not try to encroach upon the powers of other wings and the judiciary should also remain within its limits, reported Bar and Bench on Tuesday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party made the remarks on Monday while speaking at the 16th National Conference of Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad on the topic, “New challenges and opportunities in front of the Indian judicial system”.
“We [government] will not breach our limits and judiciary should also be in the constitutional limits and then news media will not get masala,” Rijiju said. “But if you breach then you give them [media] fodder.”
The minister’s remarks came amid a tussle between the government and the judiciary on the process of making judicial appointments in the country. The Opposition has also alleged that the Centre is trying to control the judiciary by introducing a new system of appointing judges in the High Court and the Supreme Court.
“You hear that there is friction between executive and judiciary and that the government is trying to take the judiciary under its grab,” the politician said, reported Bar and Bench. “Some political parties make such statements and at times news channels do it to keep masala in the news. But PM Modi has always said that the Constitution is the most sacred book and the country will run by the Constitution.”
The minister, however, remarked that judges are answerable to the public. The Lok Sabha MP said he had told the judges that after every five years, lawmakers have to go before the public, which examines their work. He also pointed out that judges are not part of such an exercise.
“So whatever a judge does is not open to public voting but indeed there is public scrutiny,” Rijiju said. “We are working for the public and those who are working in judiciary must also think that in some way or other they are also answerable to the public.”
Last week, the BJP leader had told Parliament that the government has received various representations on the lack of transparency, objectivity and social diversity in the collegium system of appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges.
Rijiju had said that the Centre had introduced the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act in 2014 with the objective to make appointments to the Supreme Court and High Courts “more broad-based, transparent, accountable and bringing objectivity in the system”.
The National Judicial Appointments Commission had proposed to make judicial appointments through a body comprising of the chief justice, two senior Supreme Court judges, the law minister and two other eminent persons nominated by the chief justice, the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition.