More than 800 Lawyers from different Courts across the Country have issued a joint statement endorsing Union Law & Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju's statement that some retired activist Judges have been making anti-India statements.

Last week, around 300 Lawyers had issued a statement condemning the statement of Kiren Rijiju.

"It is a few of the retired judges, maybe three or four, few of those activists, part of anti-India gang, these people are trying to make Indian judiciary play the role of the opposition party", the Minister had said while speaking to the India Today Conclave, last month.

The present statement has been issued by 835 Lawyers Lawyers practicing in different parts of the Country, including in Srinagar, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Mumbai and the Supreme Court.

The statement says that anti-India statements cannot be compared with criticism of the Central Government. The statement says that every citizen has a constitutionally protected right to criticise the policies and working of an elected Government. "Having said that, criticising the nation itself is certainly not a part of free speech and is very different from criticising the Government", the statement says.

“We are of the clear opinion that there is nothing wrong with the remarks of the Hon’ble Law Minister. No person, be it a Judge or a lawyer or for that matter engaged in any other vocation, has the right to make comments and statements which, even remotely, are against the best interests of our beloved Motherland. The Hon’ble Law Minister did not equate anti-India statements with criticism of the Central Government”, the Statement reads.

The Statement also says, “We categorically state that the remarks made by the Hon’ble Law Minister at the said media conclave were absolutely correct. The said so called condemnation by a miniscule number of Lawyers, does not in any manner, reflect the sentiment of the majority of the legal fraternity across the country. At best, it is the sentiment of an insignificant minority of lawyers made in their individual capacities to achieve their own self gain, which is meaningless and do no good to our institutions as such. Consequences should certainly visit anyone who criticises Bharat.”

The statement also says that the Law Minister had spoken about a "fantastic working relationship" with the present Chief Justice of India, his predecessors, Chief Justices of High Courts as well as retired judges. "However, as always, a select part of the words spoken have been lifted in abstract to spin a concocted narrative, in order to harm the nation’s interests", the statement says.

“The Hon’ble Law Minister has correctly reminded us that the judiciary cannot be playing the opposition’s role. It is a pity that a dearth of leaders in the legislature’s opposition benches has prompted certain thinking heads to perceive the judiciary as their voice alone. The Hon’ble Minister clearly spelt out that judiciary is not a political tool and in fact it is the legislature that represents the voice of the people of India. Administrative processes have thus been let out to the Government as per our Constitution. Attempts to re-align the separation of powers must be deprecated”, the statement reads.

Click here to read/download Statement