Kiren Rijuju invokes Constitutional ‘Lakshman Rekha’ for Supreme Court order on Election Commissioners

  • Union Law Minister Kiren Rijuju clarified that he is not criticizing the judgment of Supreme Court

Livemint
First Published18 Mar 2023
Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju speaks at India Today Conclave 2023, in New Delhi
Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju speaks at India Today Conclave 2023, in New Delhi(PTI)

While responding to the questions about the Supreme Court directing the government to set up a panel for the appointment of Election Commissioners, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijuju invoked the constitutional "Lakshman Rekha" which is guiding different institutions. The minister questioned that if judges become part of administrative appointments, who would carry out judicial work?

"The appointment of election commissioners is prescribed in the Constitution. Parliament has to enact a law. Accordingly, an appointment has to be done. I agree that there is no enactment for that in Parliament, there is a vacuum," the minister said at the India Today Conclave.

The law minister cleared that he is not criticizing the judgment of the Supreme Court or talking about the government's response to the decision.

"... But what I am saying is that if the CJI or judges of India sit on every important appointment, who will carry forward the judiciary's work? There are so many administrative matters in the country. So we have to see that judges are primarily there to deliver judicial work. They are there to deliver judicial orders by giving justice to people," he said.

Rijuju said that the judges of the Supreme Court will face criticism if they choose to get involved in administrative work and the principles of natural justice will also be violated if a judge ends up hearing a matter of which he or she was a part.

"Suppose you are the chief justice or a judge. You are part of an administrative process that will come into question. The matter comes to your court. Can you deliver a judgment on a matter you were part of? The principle of justice itself will be compromised. That is why the Lakshman Rekha is very clear in the Constitution," Rijiju said.

The issue is expected to intensify the already strained relationship between the government and the apex court. The tussle which began on the issue of appointments of judges has intensified after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court which said that the Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President on the advice of a committee comprising the prime minister, the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

(With inputs from PTI)

 

 

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