In a further escalation of the argument over the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju pointed out on Monday that judges are not required to run for office or face public scrutiny.
During the government versus judiciary discussion, Rijiju stated that an elected administration is always scrutinised by the public, especially in the age of social media. “However, after becoming judges, they are not subject to elections or public scrutiny,” he continued.
— ANI (@ANI) January 23, 2023
He said that because the public does not elect judges, they cannot “replace” judges as they do with governments. “The public is, however watching you” (the judges). They closely check your judgement, work ethic, and manner of dispensing justice; they also evaluate and form opinions. “In the age of social media, it is impossible to conceal anything,” he remarked.
Rijiju stated that the Chief Justice of India has recommended that the government take stern action against persons who have been insulting judges on social media or using offensive language against them.
“Since judges are unable to defend themselves against the frequent backlash they receive on social media, the CJI has recommended that the government take action,” he explained.
Rijiju had written to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud earlier this month “suggesting” the inclusion of a government candidate in the process for shortlisting justices. Nonetheless, a number of opposition groups criticised the government for what they deemed an attempt to “intimidate and then capture” the judiciary.
Sources informed Deccan Era that Rijiju’s letter contained “suggestions for streamlining” the Memorandum of Procedure pertaining to the nomination of judges, which noted that its finalisation was still “pending.”