New Delhi: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday sought to dispel the impression that the Narendra Modi government and the top judiciary were at loggerheads, saying that judicial independence was sacrosanct and inviolable.
Stressing the government strongly believed in the independence of judiciary, he said: “This government has six ministers led by the Prime Minister who fought for the independence of judiciary” during the Emergency.
Recounting the Emergency period when judges were superseded or reverted, and individual, media and judicial freedom gagged, Prasad said that the Prime Minister Modi, and Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu and he himself had then fought for cherished values and suffered persecution and jail.
During an informal and introductory interaction with media persons on Thursday at his office in Law Ministry, he said that despite long time that is consumed in vetting of the names, recommended by the top court collegium for the appointment of judges, by the Intelligence Bureau, and others including the Chief Ministers and Governors, since January this year, 52 new judges have been appointed and 89 additional judges confirmed.
He said that people sought to be appointed as judges should be capable, men of integrity and reflect the geographical spread of the country.
Clarifying that so far the Union Home Ministry has not sought Law Ministry’s views on what action that could be taken against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for the kind of speeches he had made, he, describing it a “very sensitive issue”, said that the matter would be examined by the Law Ministry as and when it is approached by the Union Home Ministry for an opinion.
“If the Home Ministry seeks any legal advice in a structured way, the Law Ministry will consider in an appropriate way,” he said.