A day after his surprise removal as the Union Law Minister, Kiren Rijiju said the move was the vision of the Prime Minister and not a punishment. He also refused to comment on his run-ins with the Supreme Court saying that today was not the day for politics.
“This shifting is not a punishment, this is the plan of the government. This is the vision of PM Modi,” Mr Rijiju said after taking charge of the Ministry of Earth.
“Not the day to talk politics,” he said when asked about his run-ins with the judiciary.
Mr Rijiju said that questions about his stint at the law ministry are no longer relevant.
“Please don’t ask question related to my previous ministry, as those questions are not relevant now. I will continue to work responsibly as the PM keeps giving me new responsiblities,” he said.
Mr Rijiju had taken over as Law Minister on July 7, 2021, after the exit of Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Arjun Ram Meghwal has been appointed as the law minister, just a year ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections. The government and the Supreme Court have not been on the same page regarding judges’ appointments often leading to snide remarks from Mr Rijiju and the Chief Justice of India.
The row escalated when Mr Rijiju said that the collegium system of judges appointing judges to higher courts was “alien” to the Constitution. In January, he also wrote to Chief Justice Chandrachud for the inclusion of government nominees in the collegium system.
Mr Rijiju again triggered a backlash in March with his comment on “retired activist judges trying to make the judiciary play the role of an opposition party”.