Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday at a function in Mumbai that the country is doing well and that the Narendra Modi government has done “nothing to undermine the independence of the judiciary.” He was responding to a question about the independence of the judiciary from a law student.
“Judicial independence cannot be viewed in isolation. There must be executive independence as well as legislative independence. “Our Constitution provides for the separation of powers, and every institution must adhere to the ‘Lakshman rekha,’ or boundary established by the Constitution,” Rijiju stated.
Speaking at an event organised by the Maharashtra and Goa Bar Council, the minister sought to refute the narrative that the Centre was exerting pressure on the judiciary. “It is a common misconception that the government is attempting to exert any kind of pressure on the judiciary.” “We are not only maintaining but also strengthening the judiciary’s independence,” Rijiju said.
Rijiju said of the political leaders who have accused the Modi government of pressuring the judiciary, “Many are creating a narrative that the government is weakening the judiciary.” They are going to other countries and saying this. The liberal group on the left is actually the most illiberal. This is harmful to development. Only when the judiciary is independent will democracy be strong. It is self-sufficient.”
In response to the question, Rijiju joked that it could also be asked the other way around: whether the judiciary was interfering with the government’s work.
In response to the growing backlog of court cases, Rijiju stated, “There are approximately five crore cases pending in our country.” This means that justice is being delayed, which means that five crore injustices are being committed against the people of our country.”
Jumping into the debate over the use of Indian languages in courts, Rijiju said the Modi government is a “Rashtravadi Raj” that only wants people to remember their roots. “Learning a new language or speaking in English is fine, but a person needs to think in their Hindustani language,” he said, adding that Indian courts should begin using the local language. He insisted that courts upgrade their technology and that the judiciary’s budget was not an issue.
“The Narendra Modi administration has done everything possible to strengthen the judiciary.” This is why, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, courts in India continued to operate,” Rijiju said.
Present at the event, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde urged Rijiju to look into the proposal to rename the Bombay High Court the Mumbai High Court.
His government recently decided to allot land in the suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) for a new high court building, and he also stated that he would consider allotting land in the neighbouring Thane district for a law academy. “We understand the importance of the judiciary. “Whenever we receive requests for manpower or infrastructure (for the judiciary), we expedite the proposal,” Shinde said.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others, including Rijiju and Shinde, assured the lawyers that the proposed Advocates Protection and Welfare Act would be investigated.