Shifted to Earth Sciences; State Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal to independently head Law Ministry
New Delhi: In a stunning move, Kiren Rijiju was removed as Union Law Minister this morning and was replaced by Arjun Ram Meghwal, just a year before Lok Sabha election.
Rijiju, known to be one of the Government’s most high-profile Ministers and a trouble-shooter, has been moved to the relatively low-key Ministry of Earth Sciences, less than a year after he was promoted to the Law Ministry with Cabinet status.
Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, will now also have Independent Charge of the Law Ministry. This is the first time in recent history that the Law Minister is not of Cabinet rank. Rijiju posted a note for his former Ministry, thanking Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and all Judges.
India has a new Law Minister at a critical time when the Government and the Supreme Court have often not been on the same page on Judges’ appointments. Rijiju’s brief term was controversial because of frequent run-ins between the Government and the Judiciary and his open criticism of the Supreme Court over the collegium system of Judges appointing Judges.
In February, a Supreme Court two-Judge Bench had expressed displeasure over the delay in clearing Judges’ appointments and transfers, calling it a very serious issue and warning of “administrative and Judicial actions which might not be palatable.”
Rijiju had brushed off the warning, saying the country would be governed according to the Constitution and the wishes of the people. “Sometimes discussions are held in the country on some matters and in a democracy, everyone has the right to express their opinion. But people sitting in responsible positions have to think before saying anything, whether it will benefit the country or not,” he had said at an event, stressing that “nobody can give a warning to anyone.”