Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has taken a swipe at the Supreme Court a day after it asked tough questions to the government on the collegium's pending recommendations for the elevation of five high court judges to the Supreme Court.
Though the government cleared the names of the five judges today, the Law Minister alluded to the Supreme Court's warning yesterday that any more delay might not be "palatable".
"I saw in the news that Supreme Court has given a warning," Mr Rijiju said at an event today. Some in the audience laughed at this.
"But the masters of this country are the people of this country. We are only workers. If there is a master, it is the public. If there is a guide, the Constitution is our guide. According to the Constitution, this country will be run as people want it to be run. You can't give a warning to anyone," Mr Rijiju continued, amid loud claps.
"To see ourselves as workers of this great nation, to be given a chance to serve, are good enough," the Law Minister said.
#WATCH | I saw a media report today that stated- Supreme Court has given a warning...The Indian Constitution is our guide. No one can give a warning to anyone: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in Prayagraj, UP pic.twitter.com/oyoDfzLzIS— ANI (@ANI) February 4, 2023
Mr Rijiju also tweeted to announce the appointment of the five judges to the Supreme Court today. They are Justice Pankaj Mithal, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court; Justice Sanjay Karol, Chief Justice of Patna High Court; Justice PV Sanjay Kumar, Chief Justice of Manipur High Court; Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah of Patna High Court, and Justice Manoj Misra of Allahabad High Court.
As per the provisions under the Constitution of India, Hon'ble President of India has appointed the following Chief Justices and Judges of the High Courts as Judges of the Supreme Court.— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 4, 2023
I extend best wishes to all of them. pic.twitter.com/DvtBTyGV42
Currently, the Supreme Court has 27 judges, including the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. Its sanctioned strength, including the Chief Justice, is 34.
The collegium system has become a major flashpoint between the Supreme Court and the centre, with the mechanism of judges appointing judges fuelling an intense debate that, in a departure from tradition, has seen sharp comments by Mr Rijiju in recent times.