New law minister Ashwani Kumar on Monday began his innings with a promise to build political consensus for moving ahead on judicial reforms and having harmonious relations with the higher judiciary.
Kumar, 60, a senior Supreme Court advocate, was promoted to the cabinet rank and given the sensitive law ministry in Sunday's reshuffle of the Manmohan Singh government.
Faced with a tough challenge of getting Parliament's nod on the key twin bills to discipline judges and raise the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years, given the delicate numbers game in both Houses, Kumar appeared to be preparing for taking up the issues one by one.
"We will press forward with our attempts to get that consensus and support. Where we succeed, we will push forward that legislation, where we do not succeed we will leave to another day till we have the requisite support," he said.
Kumar, who is the third law minister after M Veerappa Moily and Salman Khurshid since UPA 2 came to power in May 2009, said he is hopeful of Opposition supporting the reforms agenda.
For Parliament's winter session beginning 22 November, Kumar has set his sights on the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill and the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill. "Let me have a look at others," he said.
Speaking about harmonious relations between the government and higher judiciary, Kumar observed that judicial intervention should not be used to block decisions taken by the government.
"There is an atmosphere of negativism and it is believed that judicial intervention can be used to block things. Instead of having such an atmosphere, law and judiciary must become instruments of advancement of the national agenda," he said.