Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said the country will be run according to the Constitution and nobody can give a warning to anyone, PTI reported.
Rijiju made the remarks a day after a Supreme Court bench led by Justice SK Kaul gave a 10-day ultimatum to the Centre to clear the collegium’s recommendation for the elevation of five High Court judges to the top court.
“Don’t make us take a stand which will be very uncomfortable,” the bench had observed while hearing a contempt plea complaining about the inordinate delay by the Centre in clearing names.
The bench warned that any delay in this matter may result in both administrative and judicial actions, which “may not be palatable”.
The collegium had recommended Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal, Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, Manipur High Court Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar, Patna High Court judge Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Allahabad High Court judge Manoj Misra to the Supreme Court in December. Their names were pending with the government for nearly two months.
Though the Centre cleared the names of the five judges on Saturday, Rijiju at an event in Prayagraj said, “Sometimes discussions are held in the country on some matters and in a democracy everyone has the right to express their opinion. But people sitting in responsible positions have to think before saying anything, whether it will benefit the country or not.”
The law minister said that public is the master of the country. “We are only workers,” he added. “To see ourselves as workers of this great nation, to be given a chance to serve, is good enough.”
Rijiju’s remarks came amid an ongoing confrontation between the executive and judiciary about the judges’ selection mechanism. Over the last few months, Rijiju and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar have repeatedly criticised the collegium system of appointing judges, contending that it is opaque.
The law minister had said that the National Judicial Appointments Commission, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015, was better.
The National Judicial Appointments Commission Act 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.
Under the collegium system, five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, including the chief justice, decide on the appointments and transfers of judges to the top court and the High Courts.