Some retired judges who were "part of the anti-India gang" were trying to turn the judiciary against the government and “those who turn against the nation would have to pay”, law minister Kiren Rijiju said on March 18.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi, the minister said some former judges had suggested at a recently held seminar that the judiciary should rein in the executive.
"Recently there was a seminar was on accountability of judges but somehow the entire seminar became (about) how the executive is affecting the judiciary,” Bar and Bench website quoted the union minister as saying. “There are few (retired) judges who are activists and are part of anti-India gang which is trying to turn judiciary against the government like the opposition parties."
"Judges are not part of any political affiliation and how can these people say that the executive needs to be reined in? How can they say this? No one will escape and those who turn against the nation will have to pay," the minister said.
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Rijiju reiterated his concerns about the collegium system of appointment of judges. "Our position is very clear. As long as the collegium system is in place, we will follow it as it is the law. But the appointment of judges cannot be done by judicial order. It is to be done administratively," he said.
Judges' appointment for long has been a contentious issue, with the government questioning the system of judges appointing judges.
When asked if the government should have the last word on the judicial appointment, the law minister said "the Constitution says so".
Rijiju also condemned senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his recent speech in the United Kingdom, which members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have called anti-national.
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In a retort to Gandhi's claim that the Opposition's voice was being silenced, the minister said, "The person who speaks the most is saying that he is not allowed to speak."
To the allegation that India’s judiciary was being weakened, Rijiju said, “If anybody says the Indian judiciary has been hijacked, it means there is a sinister design. Our judges are not weak; it is a huge blunder for anybody who makes that statement.”