On ex SC judge ‘things are very bad’ remark, Rijiju says ‘those who abuse PM…’

Updated on Sep 03, 2022 10:39 AM IST

The retired judge of Supreme Court, Justice BN Srikrishna, was talking about the freedom of civil servants to express their personal views on matters of law and governance.

Union minister for law and justice Kiren Rijiju.(ANI)
Union minister for law and justice Kiren Rijiju.(ANI)
By | Written by Kunal Gaurav

Reacting to the concern raised by retired Supreme Court judge Justice B.N. Srikrishna on freedom of expression, or the lack of it, in the country, Union law minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said that people who abuse the “popularly elected prime minister are crying about freedom of expression.”

In an interview with The Hindu, Srikrishna said, “Today, things are very bad. I must confess, if I were to stand in a public square and say I don't like the face of the Prime Minister, somebody might raid me, arrest me, throw me in jail without giving me any reason. Now that is something that all of us should oppose as citizens.”

The snippet of the interview was widely shared on social media by critics of the government.

To this, Rijiju said that such people will “never talk about the emergency” imposed by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975 and never dare to criticise “some” chief ministers of regional parties.

“Those people who speak all the time without any restrictions to abuse the popularly elected Prime Minister are crying about freedom of expression ! They will never talk about emergency imposed by congress party and never dare to criticise some Regional Party CMs,” he tweeted.

He later added, “I don't know if a former judge of the Supreme Court has actually said this. If it's true then the statement itself is demeaning the institution he has served.”

In the interview titled ‘Can civil servants express their views on law, governance?’, Srikrishna was talking about the ongoing debate on the freedom of civil servants to express their personal views on matters of law and governance after an IAS officer belonging to Telangana cadre expressed shock over the release of 11 men convicted for gangrape and murder in Bilkis Bano case.

Smita Sabharwal, popularly known as The People’s Officer, said that she, as a woman and a civil servant, sits in disbelief on reading about the release of the convicts of Bilkis Bano case.

“As a woman and a civil servant I sit in disbelief, on reading the news on the #BilkisBanoCase,” the 2001-batch IAS officer had tweeted. “We cannot snuff out her Right to breathe free without fear, again and call ourselves a free nation.”

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