New Delhi, Oct 30: Union Law and Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar Tuesday said that all the three organs of the state should function together within the parameters of the constitution and not at cross purposes.
“I am only saying meaningful and harmonious relationship between three organs of the state to ensure co-ordinated and collective efforts” and “the organs of the State should not be working at cross purposes”, the minister said here.
He was interacting with reporters during his visit to the Supreme Court on the invitation of the Supreme Court Bar Association, a day after he took charge of the ministry.
While calling for a harmonious working relationship between the three organs of the state – executive, legislature and judiciary, the minister said the government was “committed to preserving and strengthening the independence of judiciary”.
“Judiciary is the basic component of the structure of the constitution,” he said, adding that in the past “we have witnessed constructive judicial activism” for achieving constitutional goals.
Ashwani Kumar, who fielded a number of question, including on corruption in judiciary, appointment of judges in the higher judiciary, judicial infrastructure and the mechanism to deal with these and Lokpal, said the “extraordinary challenges of the 21st century can only be met by all three organs of the state working together within the defined parameters of the constitution”.
The minister said there was need to ensure that judicial vacancies were filled up early. “We are committed to further strengthening the physical and human resources for the judiciary” and improving its efficiency, he said.
On the judicial accountability bill’s provision that prohibit judges from making oral observations, Ashwani Kumar said: “I must say I am yet to study the provision of the bill.”
“There is no intention, direct or indirect, in any manner to dilute the independence of judiciary,” he added.
Replying to a question about judges facing misconduct allegations managing to frustrate impeachment proceedings by resigning, Ashwani Kumar said: “We have to apply our mind what could further improve the system.”
“Wherever judicial aberrations have been proven there needs to be credible correctives if the judicial system has to be sustained,” Ashwani Kumar said, pointing to an internal mechanism evolved by the higher judiciary.
Stating that he was not aware of any inquiry against any judge, Ashwani Kumar said that today (Tuesday) itself he received five letters complaining against sitting judges. He said that all of them were in bad taste.
The issue would involve the “widest possible consultation and building consensus” for putting in place a new system for judicial appointments, he said adding that as of now “we are bound by judgment of the apex court” (putting in place a judges’ penal-based system for appointments).
“We remain committed to strong and credible Lokpal to tackle and eliminate corruption,” he said adding that the “foremost priority of the government is to ensure transparency and integrity”.
On judges seeking post-retirement appointments in statutory commissions and tribunals, Ashwani Kumar said he had no such experience so far.
The query was in the context of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley’s comment that he was weary of shaking hands with former judges fearing that they may seek appointment in some panel, Ashwani Kumar said that Jaitley was a former law minister and more experienced.