Prayagraj: A day after the Supreme Court warned of action for any delay in clearing transfer and appointment of judges, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said the country will be governed according to the Constitution and wishes of the people and nobody can give warning to anyone.
”Public is ‘malik’ (master) of this country and we are servants. We all are here for service and the Constitution is our guide… The country will be governed under the guidance of the Constitution and wishes of the public. Nobody can give warning to anyone,” Rijiju said.
”Sometimes discussions are held in the country on some matters and in a democracy everyone has the right to express their opinion. But people sitting in responsible positions have to think before saying anything, whether it will benefit the country or not,” he said, referring to reported remarks of a Supreme Court bench.
The minister was addressing an event on the 150th anniversary of the Allahabad High Court Bar Association here as the chief guest.
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His remarks came a day after a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka expressed displeasure over the delay in clearing recommendations for transfer of high court judges, calling it a ”very serious issue”, and warned that any delay in this matter may result in both administrative and judicial actions which might not be palatable.
On Friday, the Supreme Court also questioned the government over the delay in clearing the names of five high court judges who had been recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court. The judges were elevated to the Supreme Court on Saturday.
The minister’s remarks are the latest in a tug of war between the judiciary and the executive over the process of appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
On the pendency of cases, Minister Rijiju said, ”At present, 4 crore 90 lakh cases are pending in various courts across the country. We are solving this problem.” He said that in view of the huge number of pending cases, the government has made preparations to implement the Legal Information Management System so that a person will be able to get information about the status of the case in any high court on one click.
”Being the largest high court of the country, I wish that the Allahabad High Court should play a leading role in implementing the e-courts project. The government has abolished 1,486 old and outdated laws and the process of removing 65 such laws is going on in the current Parliament session,” he said.
The minister also said the Arbitration Bill is in the final stages of preparation and after its passage, a parallel judicial system will be established in the country. With the system of arbitration, small cases will be settled outside the court and the burden on courts will be reduced, he said.
Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Vikram Nath of the Supreme Court, Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and others attended the function.
Five judges were appointed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, taking the total number of judges in the apex court to 32, two short of the full strength.
They are Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal, Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, Manipur High Court Chief Justice P V Sanjay Kumar, Patna High Court judge Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Allahabad High Court judge Manoj Misra.
Their names were recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium on December 13 last year.