Former Supreme Court Justice BN Srikrishna has expressed concern over the current situation, saying that criticizing the government is a constitutional right in a democracy and no one can take it away. He said in an interview to Hindu newspaper that the situation is bad today. “I must admit that if I stand in public and say I don’t like the face of the Prime Minister, someone will raid me, arrest me or throw me in jail without any reason,” he opined. Meanwhile, after BN Srikrishna’s statement, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has responded and criticized strongly.
“These people who are constantly criticizing the Prime Minister who was elected by a large margin and always speak without restraint are crying out for no freedom of expression. They will not speak against the emergency imposed by the Congress party. He will not dare to speak against the Chief Minister of any regional party,” tweeted Kiren Rijiju.
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“I don’t know if a former Supreme Court judge has made such a statement. But if this is true, this statement defames the organization he worked for,” he has also said.
Meanwhile, when Indian Express asked BN Srikrishna about his statement, he said, “I was talking about civil officers exercising their constitutional right of freedom of expression. As long as the criticism is done in a civil and polite manner, it should not come under their service rules. But the law and how the government responds to critics is also a matter of concern”.
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In an interview to ‘The Hindu’ he asked if it was right for IAS officers from Telangana to tweet in support of the Gujarat government from their private Twitter accounts in the Bilkis Bano case? It was asked. On that he had said “When a person enters a government job, certain rules apply”. On this occasion, he cited two decisions of the High Court. “I think there is a trend that judges are of the view that IAS officers have a right to express themselves in a legitimate and decent manner,” he said.
Justice BN Srikrishna retired as a judge from the Supreme Court on 2006. Since his retirement, he has headed several committees in the Congress-ruled UPA and BJP governments.