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Cabinet reshuffle: Arjun Ram Meghwal Replaces Kiren Rijiju as Law Minister

‘Failed law minister', say Congress, other Opposition parties after the removal of Rijiju, who was vocal in criticising the SC collegium system and some retired judges.
Kiren rijiju

Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: In a sudden development, Kiren Rijiju was moved out of the law ministry and replaced by Arjun Ram Meghwal on Thursday.       

As law minister, Rijiju had been the most vocal in the government in criticising the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and high court judges and described it as being "alien" to the Constitution.

His recent remarks on some retired judges being part of an anti-India gang had evoked strong reactions.

He had claimed that a few retired judges and some activists who are part of the "anti-India gang" were trying to make the Indian judiciary play the role of opposition party.

Rijiju was named as law minister on July 7, 2021.

The Sports Minister and the Minister of State for Minority Affairs at that time, Rijiju got the coveted portfolio following the resignation of senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

A brief communique of Rashtrapati Bhavan said President Droupadi Murmu, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has reallocated portfolios among ministers in the Union Council of Ministers.

"The portfolio of (the) Ministry of Earth Sciences be assigned to Shri Kiren Rijiju," it said.

Meghwal is currently the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister of State for Culture.

He has been assigned independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice in addition to his existing portfolios, according to the communique.

Rijiju will take over from Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who was holding charge of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Meanwhile, Opposition parties, including the Congress, took a swipe at Kiren Rijiju who was on Thursday moved from the law ministry to the relatively lower profile Ministry of Earth Sciences, calling him a "failed law minister".

Congress MP Manickam Tagore described Rijiju, who was routinely vocal against the collegium system of judicial appointments, as a "failed law minister" while veteran lawyer and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal said it was not easy to understand the science behind the laws.

"The failed law minister moves In Earth Science what he can do? Hope Arjun Ram Meghwal acts in a dignified manner as law minister," Tagore said in a tweet.

Sibal, a former law minister, said, "Not law, now Minister for Earth Sciences. It is not easy to understand the science behind the laws. Now (he) will try to grapple with the laws of science. Good luck my friend!"

Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi dwelt on the possible reasons behind Rijiju being moved to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, wondering if the recent Supreme Court judgment on Maharashtra was a cause.

"Is it because of the Maharashtra judgement embarrassment? Or the Modani-SEBI investigation?" Chaturvedi asked in a tweet.

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