Law Minister Rijiju said that it is the government’s duty to comply with the 2016 Supreme Court verdict on the collegium dispute.

Puducherry: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said that the Union government is bound to comply with the Supreme Court’s 2016 order on revising the memorandum of procedure in the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges. His remarks came in the context of growing conflict between the government and the judiciary over the collegium system. Rijiju also said that the Center respects the judiciary as independence of the judiciary is absolutely necessary.

He said this after laying the foundation stone for the Rs 13 crore building for lawyers at the Integrated Court Complex in Puducherry. Rijiju said, “I have written to the Chief Justice about the very systematic collegium system of appointing judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, which is very well guided by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.” He said the bench had given very clear observations and suggestions to the collegium and the government in 2016 regarding the reorganization of the memorandum of procedure for the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, but there had been delays.

But Rijiju said that it is my duty to carry forward the order of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court. As long as we have the collegium system, we will continue with the existing system until an alternative system comes along and the Parliament brings in a new system. It needs some renovation and reconstruction as per the directions of the constitution bench of the court.

The Union Law and Justice Minister said that his message to the judiciary is to always respect the dignity and independence of the government. However, Rijiju expressed concern that “some people are making statements and negative comments in this regard which are harming the institution”. He said that in the past few days he had “seen some comments from eminent persons, eminent lawyers and some retired judges of the Supreme Court, from whom we expect them to contribute positively to the development of the country”.

“From the first day I assumed office as the Law and Justice Minister, I was clear about my concept, vision and intentions regarding justice and the independence of the judiciary,” he said. “Our government respects the judiciary and the independence of the judiciary is essential for a prosperous democracy,” he said. Rijiju said that the judiciary is working for the country. Both the legislature and the executive work for the country. Without cooperation and coordination among them we cannot make the country a great nation.

He said that the judiciary, the legislature and the executive do not function separately. The Law Minister said, ‘We are working in different areas but with the same objective and we have very clear responsibilities in our hands as stipulated by the Constitution of India.’ He said that the division of powers, mutual respect and Lakshmana Rekha are clearly stated and hence there is no room for any dispute.

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