Kiren Rijiju has been shifted to the Earth Sciences ministry after Arjun Meghwal took over the law ministry. Mr Rijiju has had a series of run-ins with the judiciary, including a stand-off over the collegium system of appointing judges.
Mr Meghwal, a three-time Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan’s Bikaner, in addition to being given independent charge of the law ministry, will retain two portfolios he already holds, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture.
After his appointment, Mr Meghwal spoke to the media, saying ‘My topmost priority will be to ensure speedy justice to all,’ as he visited his new office.
One of the most challenging debates between the outgoing law minister Rijiju and the judiciary was about the collegium system, which the former slammed as ‘opaque’ and ‘alien to the Constitution’.
He also called it the ‘only system in the world (in which) judges appoint people known to them’.
Mr Rijiju tried to assert the executive’s role in the appointment of judges, stressing that judicial appointments are not a function of the judiciary and that its primary role is to decide cases.
He had also claimed earlier that a few retired judges and some civil society activists were part of an ‘anti-India gang’ trying to turn the judiciary against the government.
After being assigned the new portfolio, Rijiju thanked prime minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, saying ‘It has been a privilege and an honour to serve as union minister of law & justice…’
Mr Meghwal is a former bureaucrat and a prominent BJP leader in poll-bound Rajasthan, where the BJP is looking to unseat its rival this year, especially after facind defeat in Karnataka.
Mr Meghwal is often seen cycling to Parliament, as the environment is one of his most dear causes.
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