In a major cabinet reshuffle, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State, has replaced Kiren Rijiju with the independent charge of the ministry of law and justice, Rashtrapati Bhavan announced on Thursday. Meghwal will continue to hold his existing portfolios, while Rijiju has been assigned to the portfolio of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
"The portfolio of Ministry of Earth Sciences be assigned to Shri Kiren Rijiju. Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State be assigned the independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice in addition to his existing portfolios, in place of Shri Kiren Rijiju,” read the communique of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Rijiju took over as the law minister on 8 July 2021. Prior to that, he served as the minister of state with independent charge of Youth Affairs and Sports from May 2019.
Meghwal is currently the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, as well as the Minister of State for Culture.
Rijiju Changes Twitter Bio
Soon after the announcement, Kiren Rijiju changed his Twitter bio to "Minister of Earth Sciences, India". Meghwal, on the other hand, added the independent charge for law and justice portfolio to his bio on the micro-blogging site.
In a farewell post as the law minister, Rijiju thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also thanked Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, the Supreme Court judges and other judges and law officers for their support during his tenure.
"It has been been a privelege and an honour to serve as Union Minister of Law & Justice under the guidance of Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji. I thank honble Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, all Judges of Supreme Court, Chief Justices and Judges of High Courts, Lower Judiciary & entire Law officers for the huge support in ensuring delivering ease of Justice and providing legal services for our citizens," read his tweet.
"I look forward to fulfilling the vision of Hon’ble PM Sh @narendramodi ji in the Earth Sciences Ministry with the same zeal and vigour I have imbibed as a humble karyakarta of @BJP4India," he added.
It has been been a privelege and an honour to serve as Union Minister of Law & Justice under the guidance of Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji. I thank honble Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, all Judges of Supreme Court, Chief Justices and Judges of High Courts, Lower… pic.twitter.com/CSCT8Pzn1q— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) May 18, 2023
One of the most high-profile ministers in the Union cabinet, Rijiju was known as a troubleshooter for the central government. However, he has been moved to a relatively low-profile earth sciences ministry, in less than a year since he was elevated to the post of law minister.
Rijiju has had several run-ins with the judicial system over the course of his tenure. He has been openly critical of the collegium system of appointing judges. In November last year, he had said the collegium system of making appointments in the apex court and high courts was "alien" to the Constitution.
He also courted controversy in March this year when he called a group of Supreme Court judges part of "anti-India gang".