Judges Will Have To Face Public Scrutiny: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju
Union Law & Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju said today while speaking at the 16th National Conference of Akhil Bharatiya Adhivaktha Parishad that judges will have to face public scrutiny even though they are unelected.
The Minister was speaking on the subject, "New Challenges and Opportunities before the Indian Judicial System".
"Today we (legislators) can be questioned, saying that we (people) elected you. But judges are not elected. So no one can question them. Hence I said during an event in the presence of the Chief Justice and other judges that we have to go to the citizens every five years and our work is scrutinized by the citizens. But judges are not elected and are appointed by the system in place. Hence, though the public will not vote for judges, judges will face scrutiny in public opinion. Now there is social media, it is fully open. Who can shut it down?", said the Minister.
He said, "We are committed to the people and are servants of the public, likewise, the judges should think deeply about how they are answerable".
He said that Judges should feel that they are also answerable to the citizens of the country even though they are not elected. "If we work as per the constitution, there will not be any tension between the judiciary, legislature and the executive," he said, adding that if the Judiciary stays within the role prescribed by the Constitution, there will no tension and the media will not get any opportunity to report by 'adding masala'.
He had earlier spoken about media reports about alleged friction between the government and the judiciary.
"Narendra Modi ji has always said that our Constitution is supreme. The Country will be governed by the Constitution", he said, reminding about past instances when the seniority of judges was superseded.
He said that the judiciary should be committed to the people. "Then the people (earlier governments) used to think that the judiciary should be committed to the government. But according to us, the judges should be committed towards the country, not the government. For some, committed judiciary means commitment towards their party", the Minister said.
"When some try to twist the constitution to their favour, then there will be problems. I had raised the issue of the collegium on many platforms. Till 1993 there was no debate or discussion. You know what happened thereafter", the Law Minister said.
He said that some of his answers in the parliament were misreported. He said that after he answered a question about vacations of courts, it was reported that the Law Minister criticized the Supreme Court and that he said that Supreme Court should not go on vacation. "What can I do about it, the atmosphere is being spoiled unnecessarily", Kiren Rijiju said referring to media reports.
The Minister was speaking at the 16th National Conference of Akhil Bharatiya Adhivaktha Parishad at Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Haryana. The event from 26 to 28 December with the theme of 75 years of Resurgent Bharat-Changing Contours of Law and Justice will see the participation of around 4000 Lawyers from more than 500 districts across India.