'It Should Not Have Happened': Supreme Court Dismayed Over Law Minister Kiren Rijiju's Remarks About Collegium System

Update: 2022-11-28 09:40 GMT

SC Judge Justice SK Kaul, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju

The Supreme Court today expressed reservation about Law Minister's television interview where he criticized the Collegium system for appointment of judges.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, brought to the attention of the bench the scathing comments made by the Law Minister that "never say that the government is sitting on the files, then don't send the files to the government, you appoint yourself, you run the show then".

Expressing disapproval of the Minister's comment, Justice Kaul told Attorney General for India R Venkataramani, "Many people may have reservations about the law. But till it stands, it is the law of the land...I have ignored all press reports, but this has come from somebody high enough...it should not have happened".

The Judge was referring to Law Minister Kiren Rijiju's statements at the Times Now Summit. Rijiju said that the Collegium system was approved by the Supreme Court itself and questioned how anything which is alien to the Constitution, merely because of the decision taken by the courts or some judges, can be backed by the country?

Justice Kaul said that the government is seemingly upset with non-implementation of the NJAC system. The judge asked if that can be a reason to withhold the Collegium's recommendations.

The bench, also comprising Justice AS Oka, was hearing a contempt petition filed by the Advocates Association Bengaluru in 2021 against the Centre not approving 11 names reiterated by the Supreme Court collegium.

"Normally, we don't taken note of the statements made in press. But the issue is, names are not being cleared. How does the system work? We have expressed our anguish," Justice Kaul said.

The judge stated that till the Collegium system is the law of the land, it must be followed. He thus directed the AG to convey the "sentiments of the bench" to the Govt and ensure that Centre does not sit on recommendations.

"These are the names which are pending for one and half years. How can you not clear the names. It is crossing some rubicons by keeping the names pending like this. You are effectively frustrating the method of appointment Mr. Attorney. Timelines have to be adhered to. Many recommendations have crossed the 4 month limit. No information to us. We exercised restraint by not issuing contempt notice."

The bench asked the Attorney General for India R Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to ensure that the law of the land is followed. Attorney General R Venkataramani assured the bench that he will endeavour to resolve the matter. The case will be next heard on December 8.

Also Read: "It Frustrates The Whole System":Supreme Court Expresses Deep Anguish Against Centre Sitting Over Collegium Recommendations

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