Salman Khurshid hits back at Jaitley for remark on judiciary

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New Delhi, Oct 1: Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid hits back at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley over the latter's comment that judges' judgements get affected by their post-retirement plans. Khurshid, as a Law Minister, said it was his priority to ensure that he had a rapport with judges but that did not mean that their  integrity was compromised. He said Jaitley should have known that he was also the Law Minister once.

Jaitley had said on Sunday that concern for post-retirement occupation for the judges was affecting the judiciary's record of impartiality. He also recommended for a two-year cooling-off period before retired judges are appointed to head commissions or tribunals. Jaitley said this while addressing a conference organised by the BJP's legal cell. He alleged that a trend was being set up where post-retirement jobs were created through judicial verdicts and it was influencing the judges before retirement.

Jaitley also wanted a National Judicial Commission which would comprise representatives of the judiciary, government and society to keep a watch on issues related to appointments and complaints against judges. He said he supported the idea of increasing the tenure of the judges or providing them pensions equivalent to their last-drawn salary.

On judicial activism, the former law minister said the courts must come out of the mindset that they had to intervene because other agencies were not doing their job. The courts can only direct others to carry out their duty and cannot frame laws, run the state or fight terrorism, he said. Jaitley also referred to a recent judgement which said a judge should be appointed in the Information Commission and the current law should be changed. This, according to him, was indirectly instructing the Parliament and did not comply with the idea of separation of power.

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari supported Jaitley's proposal of the two-year hiatus, saying the trend of the judiciary being affected would undermine its impartiality. He also backed Jaitley's view that the CBI was being misused by the government to blackmail the Opposition parties.

Jaitley said the UPA government would not have been in power if the CBI did not serve as its biggest ally. He alleged that parties like the SP and BSP spoke against the government during the election but soon supported it owing to the CBI's threat. Gadkari said the CBI worked under political pressure and warned that the BJP will punish guilty officers if ever it gets a chance.

OneIndia News

(With Agency inputs)

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