The Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena on Thursday said Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has crossed the “Laxman Rekha” by commenting on the collegium system of appointment of judges, and he should resign.
An editorial in the party mouthpiece 'Saamana' alleged that the Narendra Modi government wants to control all important institutions including the judiciary.
“It wants people of its ideology in the judiciary and is trying to destroy democracy, Parliament and opposition leaders. For this, the government wants its people in the high courts, Supreme Court and also among prosecutors,” it said.
Rijiju recently called as "opaque" the present Supreme Court collegium system through which judges are appointed.
"The basic fault with the present collegium system is that the judges are recommending those colleagues whom they know. Obviously, they would not recommend a judge they do not know," Rijiju had said.
The Sena mouthpiece said it was clear that the law minister had crossed the line which meant he had started meddling in the judicial process.
“Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was (once) the law minister of the country. The one who is occupying that post now has crossed the Laxman Resha. The law minister has no right to occupy the post. Like a python, the Centre has swallowed up all the institutions and now it wants to swallow up the judiciary too," the newspaper claimed.
This is a matter which warrants the law minister's resignation, Saamana added.
The editorial further said that Rijiju apparently thinks that the prime minister should appoint the judges.
"But Rijiju's suggestion is more dangerous. The collegium process is, at least, the law of the land and it has to be followed," it noted.
Rijiju cites instances of other countries where judges are appointed by the government, but can such judges act sternly against the government in the present "Modi-Shah regime", it asked.
A judge of the Allahabad High Court showed courage by passing a verdict against then prime minister Indira Gandhi, the editorial said, referring to the historic judgement of 1975 which held Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices and disqualified her from holding a public office for six years.
Can government-appointed judges show such courage, it asked.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition about the appointments on the Election Commission and it has become clear that the government made appointments to the poll body as per its whims and fancies, it further noted.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)