NEW DELHI: There was a heated argument at the valedictory function marking the golden jubilee of the Delhi High Court after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the phones of judges are being tapped, a charge rejected by Union Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Addressing the event which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, Kejriwal said the incident is dangerous for the judiciary’s independence.
“I have seen two judges say that they don’t talk on phone, I heard it is being tapped,” said Kejriwal.
“I don’t know if it is true or not but if this is true then it’s dangerous. Where is the independence of the judiciary then?” he added.
Prasad promptly responded to Kejriwal’s assertion and refuted the charges made by him.
“I have been Communication Minister for two years and I completely deny the charges made by the Chief Minister,” he said while asserting that the BJP-led NDA regime is committed to the independence of judiciary.
The AAP convener also accused the Narendra Modi-led government of interfering in the appointment of judges.
“I read that the Supreme Court collegium had many months back given recommendations for judicial appointments but it’s still lying with Centre. I heard rumors that the government didn’t approve of some names and some ministers wanted some judges to be appointed. Executive interference in appointments affects independence of the judiciary and it is not good for the country,” he said.
Kejriwal’s comments come in the wake of the apex court reprimanding the Centre over the delay in appointment of judges and accused the executive of ‘decimating’ the judiciary.
“Today we have a situation where courtrooms are locked because there are no judges. For example, Karnataka.. Why don’t you lock the courts?” a bench headed by Thakur asked, while adding “Executive inaction is decimating the institution.