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On the occasion of his first day in office as the Union Law Minister for the second consecutive term, Ravi Shankar Prasad told the media,
“As a Law Minister, I will not be a post office simpliciter. The Law Minister and the Law Ministry has a role as a stakeholder, obviously giving due regard and respect to the Collegium system.
But as Law Minister, neither I nor my department will remain a post office. We have a stake and we shall continue to pursue that stake in consultation with the Honourable Supreme Court and Honourable High Courts to expedite the appointments.”
These statements assume significance in view of the perceived power tussle between the Executive and the Collegium when it comes to the appointment of judges. The discord between the two assumed the limelight when it came to the elevation of Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.
More recently, the Government rejected the Collegium’s proposal to elevate Justices Aniruddha Bose and AS Bopanna. However, all three judges were eventually appointed to the Supreme Court after the Collegium reiterated its proposal in their regard.
Prasad also stated that due attention would be given to the welfare of advocates across the country. The Law Minister said medical insurance of lawyers would be looked into, and that efforts would be made to improve the working conditions of advocates in remote areas.
Other issues touched upon by Law Minister Prasad today included plans to use technology to make access to justice more effective. Prasad has also been appointed as the Minister of Information Technology and Communications.
Another notable takeaway from his comments was the plan to boost arbitration in India. In this regard, Law Minister Prasad commented that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also in favour of ensuring that India becomes a hub of domestic and international arbitration.
Prasad also reportedly said that the Bill seeking to criminalize the practice of Triple Talaq will be tabled in Parliament again.
Further, there are plans to scrap redundant laws, to promote legal education and research, set up more courts and enhance court infrastructure. Prasad also reportedly stated that he favours the continuation of KK Venugopal as the Attorney General of India.