This development is considered shocking for many reasons that in brief reshuffle in the Union Cabinet on Thursday morning cost Kiren Rijiju his post of Law Minister.
This is the first time in recent years that the law minister will not be of cabinet rank.
Kiren Rijiju was counted among the most high profile ministers of the government. No reason has been given for this sudden change, but the background in which these changes have come to the fore, it cannot be ignored.
Kiren Rijiju’s tenure as Law Minister will be remembered for the unusual confrontation and tension between the judiciary and the executive.
It is not a big deal to have differences between the judiciary and the executive regarding the appointment of judges and other such issues and sometimes they take serious forms.
This has happened in the past, but these cases have also been handled sensibly. This time, not only did the differences over the appointment of judges add to the conflicting stands of the two institutions on the appointment process, but the unusually strong statements by the law minister further complicated the situation.
At the root of the matter was the collegium system which the central government wanted to abolish.
In 2014, the government had also brought the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC Act), which was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.
Since then, the Judiciary felt that the Executive was showing indifference in accepting the names sent by the Collegium.
On the other hand, the government said that the practice of appointing judges through the collegium system is not good and should be changed.
These things were also made public on different occasions, but it increased unexpectedly during Rijiju’s tenure. Not only did the Supreme Court terming the delay in implementation of the Collegium’s recommendations as a serious issue, it warned of strict administrative and judicial action, but the Law Minister even responded by saying that no one can threaten anyone.
He also said on a separate occasion that the country will not accept any system outside the constitution just because that decision has been taken by some judges.
It is expected that the tension created between the judiciary and the executive by such strong statements will gradually reduce and efforts will be made to resolve the differences that have emerged between the two institutions with seriousness in a cool atmosphere.