‘Whether this will be good for the institution or not’: Law Minister on lawyers protest against SC collegium decision

File Photo Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju.
File Photo Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju.

New Delhi, Nov 19: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday criticised the protest by lawyers against the Supreme Court collegium proposal on transfer of high court judges.

Rijiju, without naming any bar association, said he heard that some lawyers are on strike on some issues, adding: “We have to think and we have to decide whether this will be good for the institution or not. If you don’t respect the institution, it will amount to disrespecting yourselfa..”.

Recently, the lawyers of two high courts - Gujarat and Telangana- had protested against the proposals made by the Supreme Court collegium for the transfer of judges.

In his address at a function organised by the Bar Council of India to felicitate the Chief Justice of India Dr Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Rijiju said when there are things which are becoming too loud in terms of putting forward the demands, then it has a risk of taking a different turn.

He further added that he heard that lawyers want to meet the CJI over a transfer case, “now the issue may be, if you look in isolation, it may be one of the issues. But if this becomes a recurring instance for every decision taken by the collegium, which is being supported by the government, then where will it lead to? Then, the whole dimension will change”.

Rijiju said in order to ensure that Indian judiciary remains very robust, then not only courts, not only the judges, but the Bar Council of India (BCI) and all the bar councils have to be strengthened. He added that if individuals start asserting their opinion much more than the institution, there is danger and what if, some of the views of individual lawyers, takes prominence and it takes precedence over the opinion of the BCI.

He said to ensure the judiciary is respected, independence of judiciary is maintained, it is not only the conduct of the judges but the conduct of the lawyers is also equally necessary.

Rijiju said: “Sometimes it is good for the country that the Law Minister does not know the law much. If I am part of the so-called lawyers’ community, then my outlook and my perception will be typical of a lawyer.” He said his observations are simply picked up from the opinion of the masses and he put it across in very simple terms.

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