Under fire, AAP says move to meet judges 'to better system'

Under fire in the Delhi Assembly for calling a meeting of all district judges in Delhi, the AAP-led government on Tuesday defended its move claiming that they only sought to 'improve' the system. Law Minister Somnath Bharti had sought a meeting with all district judges, which has caused considerable consternation in his department.

Principal Secretary (Law) A S Yadav, a district judge on deputation to the Delhi government, had even shot off a letter to the Delhi High Court in this regard.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bharti faced the ire of Congress and BJP legislators who termed the entire episode 'shameful' and stalled House proceedings. BJP Leader of the Opposition Harsh Vardhan said, "How can such demands be made of the Law Secretary who is a judge himself? The AAP government must learn to differentiate between these things."

Former Power Minister and Congress Leader in the House Haroon Yusuf termed the incident shameful. "This is a shameful incident. How can the law minister cast aspersions on the law secretary? He reportedly said the law secretary was working with the previous regime, which is completely unacceptable," Yusuf said.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said, "Law minister is supposed to teach us law. But it seems he has some learning to do."

In his reply to the House, Kejriwal said, "For us, the judiciary is sacrosanct and we believe that it should be independent and our intention was not to hurt their independence. I had asked for an appointment to meet the Delhi Chief Justice as we would like certain measures to be taken to make the judiciary more efficient. I was supposed to meet him but could not go."

His law minister Bharti sought to downplay the episode. "I asked for the meeting and not for the judges to come and meet me in my cabin. And I am also a lawyer and I know the independence of the judiciary is supreme," he said.

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