• Thursday, June 20, 2024

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India’s controversial law minister Kiren Rijiju replaced, sent to earth sciences ministry

Rijiju’s term as the law minister, which started with the mega reshuffle in the Modi government and cabinet in July 2021, was controversial because of frequent arguments between the government and the judiciary.

Kiren Rijiju (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

In a move that surprised many, India’s law minister Kiren Rijiju was on Thursday (18) replaced by Arjun Ram Meghwal. The development comes just a year before the national election.

The 51-year-old Rijiju, who is a parliamentarian from the north-eastern-most state of Arunachal Pradesh, and has held a number of high-profile ministries since 2014, was moved to a relatively low-key ministry of earth sciences.

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Meghwal, who is an MP from Bikaner in the north-western state of Rajasthan and is the minister of state in charge of parliamentary affairs, will have independent charge of the law ministry.

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In a tweet, Rijiju posted a note for his former ministry in which he thanked India’s chief justice DY Chandrachud and other judges. He also thanked prime minister Narendra Modi.

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“It has been been a privelege and an honour to serve as Union Minister of Law & Justice under the guidance of Hon’ble PM Shri
@narendramodiji. I thank honble Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, all Judges of Supreme Court, Chief Justices and Judges of High Courts, Lower Judiciary & entire Law officers for the huge support in ensuring delivering ease of Justice and providing legal services for our citizens,” he said.

Rijiju’s term as the law minister, which started with the mega reshuffle in the Modi government and cabinet in July 2021, was controversial because of frequent arguments between the government and the judiciary and his open criticism of the country’s top court over its collegium system saying judges only appointed and elevated judges they know and not others.

The government-judiciary confrontation escalated last year when Rijiju remarked that the collegium system is “alien” to the Indian Constitution and had no public support.

“Anything which is alien to the Constitution merely because of the decision taken by the courts or some judges, how do you expect that the decision will be backed by the country,” he had said.

He had also referred to the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act passed by parliament in 2014, which gave the government a greater role to play in judicial appointments. It was scrapped by the apex court.

Rijiju changed his Twitter bio as ‘Minister of Earth Sciences, India’ on Thursday.

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