Expressing his disapproval over Kiren Rijiju’s recent remarks on the run-ins between the government and the judiciary over the functioning of the Collegium, Senior Advocate Harish Salve said the Union Law Minister had crossed the ‘Lakshman Rekha’, Bar and Bench reported.
“The Law Minister crossed the Lakshman Rekha by what he said in my opinion. If he thinks that the Supreme Court must hold its hand when it sees a brazenly unconstitutional law and be hostage to the government’s kindness to amend that law, sorry that’s wrong,” Salve was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench. Salve was speaking at the Times Now Summit 2022 along with former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit on the topic ‘What Is Slowing India’s Judicial System?’
Further, on being asked about his opinion on the Supreme Court Collegium, Salve said that he continues to be a critic of the system.
On Friday, Law Minister Rijiju had criticised the Supreme Court’s observation that the government was sitting on files relating to appointment of judges cleared by the Collegium. “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…”
Describing the Collegium system as “alien” to the Constitution, he had said, “You tell me under which provision the Collegium system has been prescribed.”
On Monday, Supreme Court judge Justice SK Kaul had expressed his displeasure of Rijiju’s criticism stating that this “should not have happened”.
Without naming the Union Law Minister, Justice Kaul said: “Let them give the power. We have no difficulty… I ignored all press reports, but what he says, that when somebody high enough says let them do it themselves, we will do it ourselves, no difficulty… It came from somebody high enough. Should not have. All I can say is, should not have happened.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had expressed displeasure over the Centre keeping pending the names recommended for appointment as judges in the higher judiciary, including those reiterated by the apex court Collegium. The top court observed that the method of keeping names on hold is becoming “some sort of a device” to compel the persons, whose names have been recommended for appointment as judges in the higher judiciary, to withdraw their consent.
“Post second reiteration, only the appointment has to be issued. Keeping names on hold is not acceptable; it is becoming some sort of a device to compel these persons to withdraw their names, as has happened,” a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.