Arjun Ram Meghwal is new law minister

Arjun Ram Meghwal is new law minister

New Delhi: In a sudden development, Kiren Rijiju was removed as Union law minister on Thursday after less than a two-year stint that was marked by frequent run-ins with the judiciary. He was replaced by Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Rijiju has been given the relatively low-profile earth sciences ministry, which was earlier held by Jitendra Singh.
As the Union law minister, Rijiju took on the judiciary on several issues, including the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and high court judges and described it as being “alien” to the Constitution.
While the decision to abruptly shift Rijiju out of the high-profile law ministry has come as a surprise, sources believe it may have been motivated by the government’s wish to reset its ties with the higher judiciary as a sense of confrontation and one-upmanship appeared to mark their relationship.
The comments of the leader from Arunachal Pradesh, dubbing some retired judges as part of “anti-India” forces had also drawn a lot of flak.
He had claimed that a few retired judges and some activists who are part of the “anti-India gang” were trying to make the Indian judiciary play the role of the opposition party.
Rijiju’s removal from the ministry just a year before the national election underscores the government’s desire to avoid confrontation with the higher judiciary, sources suggested.
The appointment of Meghwal, a Dalit face of the BJP from Rajasthan, also comes ahead of the assembly elections in the state slated for later this year.
A brief communique of Rashtrapati Bhavan said President Droupadi Murmu, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has reallocated portfolios among ministers in the Union Council of Ministers.
“Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State be assigned the independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice in addition to his existing portfolios, in place of Shri Kiren Rijiju,” it said.
After the announcement of his removal, Rijiju took to Twitter and said,”It has been a privilege and an honour to serve as Union Minister of Law and Justice under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji.
He also thanked Chief Justice of India Chandrachud, all judges of the Supreme Court, Chief Justices and judges of high courts, lower judiciary and law officers for the “huge support” in ensuring the ease of justice and providing legal services for citizens.
“I look forward to fulfilling the vision of PM Narendra Modi ji in the Earth Sciences Ministry with the same zeal and vigour I have imbibed as a humble ‘karyakarta’ of (the) BJP,” Rijiju, a three-term Lok Sabha member from Arunachal Pradesh, said.
Hours after the announcement of Rijiju’s removal, another statement said SP Singh Baghel, who was Minister of State in the Law Ministry, has been moved to the health ministry as minister of state.
Rijiju was named as law minister on July 7, 2021.
The Sports Minister and the Minister of State for Minority Affairs at that time, Rijiju got the coveted portfolio after the exit of senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Immediately after assuming charge of the law ministry, Meghwal, also the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister of State for Culture, declared that there was no confrontation with the judiciary.
“The executive and the judiciary have a cordial relationship, and it will stay cordial and constitutional. The boundaries are already there,” he told reporters here.
“My topmost priority will be to ensure speedy justice to all,” said Meghwal, a law graduate.
Rijiju met Meghwal and extended best wishes on the new responsibility.
Reacting to the development, Congress MP Manickam Tagore described Rijiju as a “failed law minister” while veteran lawyer and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal said it was not easy to understand the science behind the laws.
“The failed law minister moves In Earth Science what he can do? Hope Arjun Ram Meghwal acts in a dignified manner as law minister,” Tagore said in a tweet.
Sibal, a former law minister, said, “Not law, now Minister for Earth Sciences. It is not easy to understand the science behind the laws. Now (he) will try to grapple with the laws of science. Good luck my friend!”
Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi dwelt on the possible reasons behind Rijiju being moved to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, wondering if the recent Supreme Court judgment on Maharashtra was a cause.
“Is it because of the Maharashtra judgement embarrassment? Or the Modani-SEBI investigation?” Chaturvedi asked in a tweet.
(PTI)

 

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