Amid the running battle between the Executive and the Judiciary over judicial appointments, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said it was a matter of “grave concern” that the Supreme Court Collegium put certain portions of sensitive reports of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in public domain.
Intelligence agency officials, who work in a secret manner, will “think twice” in future if their reports are made public, Mr. Rijiju told presspersons on the sidelines of a Law Ministry event.
He was responding to questions on the Collegium resolutions that contained portions of the IB and RAW reports regarding some advocates who were recommended for appointment as High Court judges. “Putting the sensitive or secret reports of RAW and IB in public domain is a matter of grave concern on which I will react at an appropriate time,” he said.
On being asked if he would “sensitise” Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud to it, he said, “The honourable Chief Justice and I meet so often. We are always in touch. He is the head of the Judiciary and I am the bridge between the government and the Judiciary so we have to work together. You cannot work in isolation.”
He, however, stressed that matters of appointments were an administrative matter, and government functionaries commenting on issues such as the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) did not amount to lowering the dignity of the Judiciary.
In an unprecedented move on January 20, the collegium made public the Centre’s objection to appointment of advocates Saurabh Kirpal, Somasekhar Sundaresan and John Sathyan as judges of the High Courts of Delhi, Bombay and Madras, respectively. While reiterating their names, it rejected the objection to Mr. Kirpal’s openly gay status, and concerns about critical social media posts against the Modi government by the other two advocates.