Kiren Rijiju: No confrontation between government and judiciary

"In some States, I realised that requirement of court and understanding of government has some shortcomings," Rijiju said.

Kiren Rijiju
Kiren Rijiju was replaced by Arjun Ram Meghwal as the Union Law Minister. File photo

Denying any clash between the government and judiciary as speculated in the media, Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday (March 25) contended that differences were inevitable in a democracy but they should not be construed as confrontation.

The minister inaugurated the Chief Judicial Magistrate court, Mayiladuthurai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, in the presence of Chief Justice of India Justice DY Chandrachud, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court Justice T Raja.

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“We have differences, but it doesn’t mean there is confrontation. It sends a wrong message across the world. I want to make it clear that there is no problem between different organs of the State. There are signs of robust democratic actions, which are not a crisis,” he emphasised.

Pointing to some media reports of alleged differences between the government and the Supreme Court or the legislature and judiciary, the Union Minister said, “We must understand that we are in a democracy. There are bound to be certain differences in terms of some outlook but you can’t have conflicting positions. This doesn’t mean confrontation. We are the largest democracy in the world.”

The Centre would support the Indian judiciary to be independent, he said, and called upon the bench and the bar – being two sides of the same coin – to work together to ensure that the court complex is not divided. “One can’t exist without the other. Courts must have proper decorum and conducive atmosphere.”

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Talking about fund allocations, he said last year the government had allotted Rs 9,000 crore for district and other courts in the State, and his department was pushing hard for utilisation of funds so that more could be sought.

“In some States, I realised that requirement of court and understanding of government has some shortcomings,” Rijiju said.

The government would like the Indian judiciary to go completely paperless in the near future. “With the coming of technological support, everything can be synchronised so that the judge will not have to postpone cases for want of evidence, or bunch cases and other issues. Works are under process and I could sense we are going towards a major solution (for pendency),” he said.

There may be separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary but that did not mean they shouldn’t work together, the Law Minister asserted.

“We should work as a team to identify and ensure that challenges like pendency of cases are tackled,” he said, adding, “In India, every judge is handling 50-60 cases every day. If I had to deal with so many cases, the mental pressure would be tremendous. That is why sometimes there is constant criticism that judges are unable to deliver justice, which is not true.”

He pointed out that the disposal of cases has been done faster. But the number of cases coming up was also higher. The only way was to have better infrastructure and better mechanism and to strengthen the Indian judiciary.

On delivering justice to the common man, Rijiju said he would be happy to see all the courts in Tamil Nadu use the Tamil language in their proceedings.

“In the High Court, there is a challenge…Tamil is a classical language and we’re proud of it. We would like to see it being used. With the increase in technology, advancement of legal transcripts, maybe someday Tamil language can be used in Supreme Court also,” the minister said.