Kiren Rijiju backs view that SC ‘hijacked’ the Constitution
Union law minister Kiren Rijiju shared a video clip of an interview of justice RS Sodhi, a former judge of the Delhi high court, saying that it was the “voice of a judge” and that the majority of the people had similar “sane views”.
Union law minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday backed the view of a retired high court judge that the Supreme Court “hijacked” the Constitution by deciding to appoint judges itself.
Against the backdrop of the government and the judiciary being at loggerheads over the process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, Rijiju shared a video clip of an interview of justice RS Sodhi, a former judge of the Delhi high court, saying that it was the “voice of a judge” and that the majority of the people had similar “sane views”.
Justice Sodhi said the right to frame laws lies with Parliament. The law minister said, “Actually majority of the people have similar sane views. It’s only those people who disregard the provisions of the Constitution and mandate of the people think that they are above the Constitution of India.”
“Real beauty of Indian Democracy is its success. People rule themselves through their representatives. Elected representatives represent the interests of the People & make laws. Our Judiciary is independent and our Constitution is Supreme,” the minister tweeted.
In the interview, justice Sodhi also said the apex court cannot frame laws as it does not have the right to do so.
“...Whether you can amend the Constitution? Only Parliament will amend Constitution. But here I feel the Supreme Court for the first time hijacked the Constitution. After hijacking, they (the Supreme Court) said that we will appoint (judges) ourselves and the government will have no role in it,” he said in Hindi.
The appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts has become a flashpoint between the executive and the judiciary.
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While Rijiju has described the collegium system to appoint judges as something “alien” to the Constitution, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar has questioned the top court for striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC) and a related constitutional amendment.
Dhankhar, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said a law passed by Parliament, which reflects the will of the people, was “undone” by the Supreme Court and “the world does not know of any such instance”.
By bringing the NJAC law, the government had sought to overturn the collegium system which came into being in 1992.
The apex court has repeatedly questioned the government over delays in clearing the appointments of Supreme Court and high court judges.
Last week, the Supreme Court collegium reiterated for the second time the names of two advocates for appointment as judges of the Calcutta high court “expeditiously”, saying it was not open for the government to repeatedly send back the same proposal.
(With inputs from agencies)