Sun, 05 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], January 24 (ANI): Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said that putting out RAW and IB inputs on appointment of judges in the High Courts in the public domain by the Supreme Court Collegium is a "matter of serious concern" and he will react to it at an appropriate time.

The minister was responding to questions on some recent Supreme Court collegium resolutions while reiterating names for appointment as high court judges.

"Putting secret inputs of RAWIB (on the appointment of judges in high courts) in public is a matter of serious concern. I will react to this in an appropriate manner in time," Rijuju said.

The minister's remarks have come at a time when the government and the judiciary have differences over the process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

The minister attended an award felicitation ceremony at Jaisalmer House here to honour the award winners of eCourts Project and also interacted with the media. The event was organised by the Department of Justice.

Rijiju expressed happiness regarding the good work done by the Department of Justice and the impact it has in dispensing justice to the people.

Rijiju also referred to certain statements about his remarks. "No one should make a comment on a judicial order. But, these are administrative orders and not judicial. I have seen some tweets that are making comments about NJAC is contempt. The order of the bench is totally different and this is all administrative."During the media interaction, Law Minister also raised the issue of the pendency of cases and said the total pendency is 4. 90 crore cases in the country.

"Pendency in cases implies to delay in Justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.""Delivery of Justice is a crucial aspect. The only way to reduce pendency is a coordinated effort of the government and the judiciary. The pendency of a huge number of cases is a matter of concern. The pendency of cases is a major concern, technology is a major solution. We are also considering Alternate Dispute Resolution and mediation," said Rijiju.

He further said that justice must be delivered at the fastest possible pace and today, around 4.90 crores cases are pending across the courts, technology enablement of courts will play a pivotal role in reducing this caseload.

"The Department of Justice is constantly working in close coordination with eCommittee, Supreme Court under the guidance of CJI DY Chandrachud," Rijiju said.

Recently, the Supreme Court Collegium resolved to reiterate its recommendation dated November 11, 2021, for the appointment of Saurabh Kirpal as a Judge of the Delhi High Court and stressed that it needs to be processed expeditiously.

Collegium mentioned the letter of the Law Minister dated April 1, 2021 which states that though "homosexuality stands de-criminalised in India, nonetheless same-sex marriage still remains bereft of recognition either in codified statutory law or uncodified personal law in India and the candidate's "ardent involvement and passionate attachment to the cause of gay rights" would not rule out the possibility of bias and prejudice.

"As regards the first objection, the two communications of RAW do not reflect any apprehension in regard to the individual conduct or behaviour of the partner of Saurabh Kirpal having a bearing on national security. There is no reason to pre-suppose that the partner of the candidate, who is a Swiss National, would be inimically disposed to our country since the country of his origin is a friendly nation," SC Collegium clarified.

"Many persons in high positions including present and past holders of constitutional offices have and had spouses who are foreign Nationals. Hence, as a matter of principle, there can be no objection to the candidature of Saurabh Kirpal on the ground that his partner is a Foreign National," SC collegium pointed out.

Rijiju, who had on Sunday backed the views of a former Delhi High Court judge Justice RS Sodhi that Supreme Court has "hijacked" the Constitution by deciding to appoint judges itself, had said on Monday said that "changes are also made in an established system in view of challenges and situations" and that "judges do not face elections or scrutiny by public" and people make their assessments.

Addressing an event organised by Delhi Bar Association at Tis Hazari courts here, the minister also pitched for a "robust and independent judiciary", saying if the independence of the judiciary is diluted, democracy will not be successful.

"For a strong democracy in India, a robust and independent judiciary is a must. If the independence of the judiciary is diluted or its authority, dignity and honour are weakened, then democracy will not be successful," Rijiju said on Monday.

He said the Indian constitution has seen several amendments in response to the emerging situation.

"Sometimes some challenges appear. We are a developing nation. It is wrong to think that there could not be changes in the running system. Changes are also made in an established system in view of challenges and situations. This is the reason Indian Constitution has been amended over a hundred times," the minister said.

He said people are watching the judges and people make assessments of judgment and the way they deliver justice.

"After becoming judges, they don't have to face elections or scrutiny by the public...Public is watching the judges, their judgments and the way they deliver justice, and make their assessments...In this era of social media, nothing can be hidden," he said.

He noted that apparent differences between the government and judiciary on an issue are portrayed as "Mahabharta" by some people and said this is "not true at all" and that debate and discussion are part of the democratic culture.

Rijiju said he belongs to a political party where it is emphasised that there can be "matbhed" (differences) but not "manbhed" (acrimony).

He said there are regular interactions on several issues between the government and the judiciary and there is "live contact" with discussion taking place from small to big issues.

"Sometimes, you will see are there some differences, is there is coordination between the government and the judiciary. If there is no discussion or debate in democracy, what democracy is it is. If the Supreme Court has some views, the government has some views, there are differences in the views, some people present it as if there is Mahabharata between the government and the judiciary. It is not true at all," he said.

"There are differences..I have come from a political party. In My party BJP it is said from very beginning that there can be 'matbhed' but there should not be 'manbhed'. We meet and there can be sometimes difference of opinion. It does not mean that we are attacking each other," he added.

Rijiju, who had shared a clip of an interview of former Delhi High Court judge Justice RS Sodhi, had said on Sunday that the majority of people have "similar sane views".

"Actually majority of the people have similar sane views. It's only those people who disregard the provisions of the Constitution and mandate of the people think that they are above the Constitution of India," Rijiju had said.

Sharing the interview clip on Saturday, Rijiju had said elected representatives represent the interests of the people and make laws. "Our Judiciary is independent and our Constitution is Supreme," Rijiju had said.

Rijiju had earlier this month written to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud over the collegium system for appointments to the higher judiciary.

The minister later said in a tweet that the move was a follow-up action of the direction of Supreme Court Constitution Bench while striking down the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act.

He said the SC Constitution Bench had directed to restructure the Memorandum of Procedure of the collegium system.

"The contents in the letter to hon'ble CJI are exactly in conformity with the observations and directions of the Supreme Court Constitution Bench. Convenient politics is not advisable, especially in the name of Judiciary. Constitution of India is supreme and nobody is above it,"the minister had said in a tweet on January 16 responding to a tweet by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

"How can a govt's nominee be part of the collegium? Some people make comment without knowing the facts! The Constitution Bench of hon'ble SC itself had asked to restructure the MoP. Search-cum-Evaluation committee is envisaged for preparation of panel of eligible candidates," Rijiju had said in a tweet on January 17. (ANI)

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