Amid the ongoing row between the Centre and judiciary over appointment of judges, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday cited comments by a retired high court judge that the Supreme Court “hijacked” the Constitution by deciding to appoint judges itself – and said he considered former judge’s view “sane”.
Rijiju also said that a majority of the people have similar sane views.
Sharing the interview of former Delhi High Court judge, Justice R.S. Sodhi (retd), Rijiju tweeted: “Voice of a judge…Real beauty of Indian Democracy is- it’s 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”.
In an interview, Justice Sodhi said the right to frame laws lies with the Parliament and added that the Supreme Court cannot frame laws as it does not have the right to do so.
Sodhi, speaking in Hindi, said: “Whether you can amend the Constitution? Only Parliament will amend the Constitution. But here I feel the Supreme Court for the first time ‘hijacked’ the Constitution.”
“After ‘hijacking’, they (the apex court) said that we will appoint (judges) ourselves and the government will have no role in it,” he said.
Sodhi also said high courts are not subservient to the Supreme Court but high court judges start looking at the Supreme Court and become subservient.
The Law Minister, in another tweet, 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”.
In the past, the Law Minister had criticized the collegium system and termed it alien to the Constitution. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar has also questioned the decision of the apex court to strike down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC)and a related constitution amendment. The government, by bringing NJAC, had sought to overturn the collegium system which came into being in 1992.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court made public its communication with the centre on the elevation of lawyers as judges of the high courts. The apex court backed the appointment of advocate Saurabh Kripal, who is openly gay, as a judge of the Delhi High Court.