Over 300 Lawyers Slam Rijiju’s Comment on Retd SC Judges, Say “Govt Criticism not Anti-India’
kiren Rijiju. Image Courtesy: Twitter/@RijijuOffice
New Delhi: Flaying Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s recent remark terming some retired judges critical of government as ‘anti- India’, over 300 Supreme Court and High Court senior advocates and lawyers from across the country have released a statement saying “criticism of the government is neither against the nation, nor unpatriotic, nor ‘anti-India’”
At a recent media conclave, Minister Rijiju had said some retired ‘activist’ judges were “trying to play the role of the opposition party” .
Objecting to the Minister’s remarks, the statement, signed by 323 lawyers, including senior advocates, such as Iqbal Chagle, Raju Ramachandran, Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave, Chander Uday Singh, Indira Jaising, Rebecca John, Nitya Ramakrishnan, among many others said: “By bracketing the critics, that too without naming them, as an anti-India gang, the minister has transgressed all limits of constitutional propriety by claiming that the members of this ‘ani-India gang’ want to make the “judiciary play the role of the opposition.” He pointedly threatened these retired Supreme Court judges that “no one will escape” and those “who work against the country will pay the price,” said a report by LiveLaw.
Condemning the Minister’s remarks, the statement reminded him that “the government of the day is not the nation and the nation is not the government”.
According to the report, the statement also underlined that “under our Constitutional scheme, the space for criticism of the government is neither reserved for exercise in Parliament or legislatures alone, nor is it confined to any particular class of persons or barred to any other.” Hence, “criticism of government does not authorize a high state functionary to besmirch any individual’s patriotism.”
Urging the Law Minister to publicly withdraw his remarks, the statement read: “…by virtue of his office”, the minister is a “bridge between the executive and the judicial wings of the state, and he must, therefore, “maintain a dignified public discourse.”
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