Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday, 24 January said that judges are being watched by people since nothing remains hidden on social media.
Amid ongoing tussle: This comes amid an ongoing tussle between the government and judiciary over appointments of judges.
'Public is watching': “Judges are appointed once and they don't have to face elections. Judges can't even be scrutinised by the public. Public can't change judges but it is looking at them, their judgements, their way of functioning and dispensing justice. Public is watching all and making assessments. Nothing is hidden in the age of social media,” he said.
The Law Minister added that one of the CJIs had requested him to take concrete action against social media posts against judges.
However, he said when it happens on large scale, no action can be taken.
“We are also facing public scrutiny and public criticism on a daily basis including the judges. That's why you will get to see that judges are careful these days,” he said.
Rijiju was addressing an event organised by Delhi Bar Association at Tis Hazari Courts to commemorate India's upcoming Republic Day.
Why does this matter? High government functionaries, like the union law minister and the Vice President, have recently been making repeated remarks on the functioning of the apex court, as well as the mode of appointment of judges.
The apex court collegium too, recently, reiterated their proposal for appointment of five lawyers as apex court judges, even publicising the Centre’s objections to those candidates. Some of the government’s objections included reasons like the candidate being openly gay, or sharing an article that is allegedly critical of the prime minister.
Only last week, there were reports of a letter written by Rijiju asking the CJI to include a government representative in the Collegium -- the judicial body responsible for making judges' appointments.
Regarding the letter, the Law Minister said on Monday:
“I wrote a letter to the CJI on January 6. It is my duty. There was no need to tell anyone, it is work. It is not a public announcement. It is a regular procedure.
He clarified that in the letter, he had referred to a direction given by a 2015 ruling of a 5 judge bench of the Supreme Court in the NJAC case and said that the same should be taken forward.
(With inputs from ANI and LiveLaw.)