In a veiled attack at the Opposition, Union law minister Kiren Rijiju has said that attempts were being made to tell the world that the Indian judiciary and the democracy were in crisis.
Speaking at a conference of the Centre’s counsels in the Eastern states in Bhubaneswar on Saturday (March 4), the Union Minister of Law and Justice said the wisdom of judges was beyond public scrutiny and cannot be questioned.
“Indian judiciary cannot be questioned, especially the wisdom of judges cannot be put into public scrutiny,” he said. “At times, calibrated attempts are being made from both inside and outside the country to tell the world that the Indian judiciary is in crisis. A message is being sent to the world that Indian democracy is in crisis. It is a deliberate attempt by some groups to malign the image of the country,” he added.
Asserting that India was truly the “mother of democracy,” the minister said no campaign with ulterior motives can succeed in defaming the country and its democratic fabric.
Rejoinder to Rahul?
Rijiju’s comments came after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at a lecture at Cambridge University alleged that Indian democracy was under attack and several politicians including himself, were under surveillance. The Congress leader listed five key aspects of the alleged attack on Indian democracy – capture and control of media and judiciary; surveillance and intimidation; coercion by federal law enforcement agencies; attacks on minorities, Dalits and tribals; and shutting down of dissent.
Noting that it was unfortunate that judges were being abused on social media, Rijiju said this was happening as some people were not aware of how the Indian judiciary functions. “It is not a good sign when the judiciary is subjected to some kind of criticism. The judiciary must be far away from public criticism,” he said, adding that the problem lies with the same group, which wants to force the judiciary to play the role of the opposition party.
“The Indian judiciary will never accept it. I am sure the judiciary will resist the forceful attempt to make it play the role of opposition. This cannot happen,” he said.
Rijiju said it is because of the Constitution that the government is of the view that the appointment of judges cannot be done by judicial orders. The opinion of the executive and the judiciary may differ at times as everybody cannot have the same observation, he said. Rijiju said 65 redundant laws have been proposed to be repealed in the next session of Parliament. So far, 1,486 redundant laws have been removed. He said the government wants to make India safe and secure, and so, it has to make stringent laws. On the demand for a permanent bench of the high court in western Odisha, he said the Centre was ready to give its approval if the state government submits a complete proposal.
(With inputs from agencies)