Government criticism is not ‘anti-India,’ say over 300 lawyers in a letter in response to Kiren Rijiju’s remarks
According to the union law minister, “a very few retired judges and a smaller number of activists who are anti-Indian gang members were trying to convert the Indian judicial system into an opposition party.”
On March 29, more than 300 lawyers from across the country signed an open letter demanding that Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju retract his statement that some retired judges are “part of an anti-India gang.”
The letter stated that “the accusations of anti-nationalism against individuals who have dedicated their lives to upholding the rule of law, and the blatant threat of retaliation against them, marks a new low in the public discourse of our great nation.”
Rijiju stated on March 18 that “three or four” retired judges are part of an “anti-India” gang, and that anyone who has worked against the country “will have to pay a price.”
During his speech at the India Today Conclave, he said these things.
He mentioned a seminar in which judges and senior attorneys took part. The seminar’s focus was on “Accountability in Judge Appointment,” but throughout the day, people talked about how the Indian government was assuming control of the judiciary.
“Judges are not affiliated with any political party; the judiciary is impartial.” How are these people able to state in public that the Indian judiciary must challenge the [government]? “Is this propaganda?” he inquired.
In their letter, the attorneys claimed that the minister had overstepped all restrictions on constitutional decorum by calling the critics an “anti-India gang” and saying that they intended to “make the judicial system serve as the voice of the opposition.”
It went on to say that he explicitly warned these retired Supreme Court justices that “no one will escape” and that “those who work against the country will pay the price.”
The law minister has made it clear to all citizens that no voice expressing opposing views will be spared by putting retired judges in danger.
“We categorically condemn these remarks. Such berating and abuse are unfitting of the minister’s high office. We can remind the minister that criticizing the government is not anti-national, unpatriotic, or “anti-India”. He must keep in mind that the current government is not the nation, and the nation is not the government.”