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'PM has hands on nuclear button, yet can't be trusted to appoint judges?'

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, making an observation on the Supreme Court Collegium system, said the Prime Minister has his finger on the nuclear button, "but the Prime Minister assisted by the Law Minister cannot be trusted to appoint a fair and objective judge? That is too sweeping a comment about which I have my serious reservations."

PM has hands on nuclear button, yet cant be trusted to appoint judges?
Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi

Prasad was speaking at the Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Parishad edition of Prof NR Madhava Menon memorial lecture series on legal and digital challenges for India post-Covid-19. He added everybody works in democratic form of the government. Prasad said the Prime Minister is the head of the government, who appoints all the ministers and all report to the PM.

He added the Prime Minister also plays a significant role in the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court. "The Prime Minister has a nuclear button in his hand, the Prime Minister can be trusted for so many things in the country, but the PM assisted by the law minister cannot be trusted to appoint a fair and objective judge?" asked Prasad.

He said Menon held the view that the Collegium system (appointment and transfer of judges) is not relevant and it should be replaced, as it has outlived its utility. "We came with the National Judicial Commission (appointment and transfer of judges) in the first term of the Modi government. It was unanimously passed by the two Houses of the Parliament, and also unanimously passed by more than 50 percent Vidhan Sabhas of the states, yet the Supreme Court quashed it. Any judgment of the Supreme Court, we respect", he added.

Prasad said "The law minister of India and the law ministry is not a post office. We are a stakeholder and we shall continue to exercise our role as a stakeholder."

He added that the Supreme Court has held that in the judicial commission, the law minister is also a member; therefore, the appointees from that process may not be fair and objective, when the litigation comes against the government. "Then I have serious reservations as a student of law", said Prasad.

He insisted that people trust the Prime Minister for sanctity and integrity and security of India. "We have to see that the PM also plays a major role in the appointment of the President, Vice President", he added.

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