Friday, June 9, 2023

‘Criticism of government not anti-India’: 300 lawyers urge Rijiju to withdraw remarks on retired judges

New Delhi: Over 300 advocates, including lawyers from the Supreme Court and various high courts, on Wednesday criticized Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who said some retired judges have become “part of the anti-India gang” and urged him to withdraw his remarks. .

In a strongly worded statement issued by 323 advocates, they said the Union minister’s speech had “indirectly referred” to some retired judges as being part of the “anti-India gang” and urged those of the Supreme Court to Retired judges were “clearly threatened” that “nobody will be spared” and “those who work against the country will pay the price”.

“By threatening retired judges, the Law Minister is clearly sending a message to every citizen that dissenting voices will not be spared,” the statement said.

Criticizing his comments, the statement said, “We say without hesitation that critics of the government are in every way as patriotic as those in the government and critics who highlight failures or shortcomings in administration, or constitutional expose violations of the norms, doing an inherent and most basic exercise of human rights…”

The statement further said that such “harassment and intimidation” was unbecoming of the minister’s office and that criticism of the government is neither anti-national, nor “anti-India”.

Notably, speaking at the India Today Conclave on 18 March, Kiren Rijiju said that some retired judges and some activists, who are “part of the anti-India gang” are trying to make the Indian judiciary play the role of the opposition party.

“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to our retired judges, and it does not matter whether one may personally agree or disagree with the views of an individual judge, whether serving or retired,” the statement said. The law minister has been asked to “publicly withdraw his remarks and refrain from making such remarks in future”.

The signatories to the statement include senior advocates from the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court, Bombay High Court, Gauhati High Court, Gujarat High Court, Himachal Pradesh High Court, Jharkhand High Court, Karnataka High Court, Kerala High Court, lawyers and advocates from Madras were involved. High Court, Manipur High Court, Meghalaya High Court, Patna High Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Rajasthan High Court, Telangana High Court and Uttar Pradesh High Court.

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