Opposition leaders on Sunday hit out at Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju over his remark that some retired judges and activists "were part of the anti-India gang" and were trying to make Indian judiciary play the role of the Opposition, saying he cannot get away with such claims and must give proof.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut alleged that it was an attempt to pressure the judiciary.
"What kind of democracy is this? Does it suit a law minister to threaten the judiciary? It is a threat to judges who refuse to bow down to the government and it's an attempt to pressure the judiciary," he told reporters in Mumbai.
Rijiju had made the remarks at the India Today Conclave in the national capital on Saturday.
“It is a few of the retired judges - maybe three or four - a few of those activists, part of the anti-India gang, these people are trying to make the Indian judiciary play the role of the opposition party,” he had said, without naming anyone.
"Some people also go to the court and say please rein in the government, please change the policy of the government. These people want the judiciary to play the role of the opposition party, which cannot happen," he added.
The minister, however, asserted that the judiciary is neutral.
Raut said criticising the government doesn't mean being against the nation.
Taking to Twitter, Rajya Sabha MP of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) Jawhar Sircar said a minister can’t make such a statement and get away.
“Give proof. Don’t threaten,” he demanded in a post on the microblogging site.
“RSS didn’t participate in the freedom struggle and Hindu Mahasabha supported the British. Don’t give us pro-India, anti-India gyan,” he added.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said a law minister was "talking like an outlaw".
"A Minister of Justice propagating Injustice. If this is not a threat to freedom AFTER speech what is?" he tweeted on Saturday.
Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, who is also an eminent lawyer, also took a swipe at the minister.
“Rijiju: A few retired judges are part of an "anti-India gang". My response: A few politicians in government are part of "the know not what they say gang," he tweeted.
CPI(M) leader and former Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac asked if Rijiju is “a minister for law or lawlessness”.
“Kiren Rijiju, on the roll- now he threatens judges: “Some retired judges part of anti-India gang. Is he minister for law or lawlessness?” Isaac tweeted.
-With PTI Input