Knesset lobbying by presiding and retired justices is an unhealthy phenomenon, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann told Army Radio Sunday, in criticizing former president of the Supreme Court Aharon Barak and his ex-deputy Mishael Cheshin.

Friedmann came under fire this weekend from Barak and Cheshin for his effort to draft a bill that would restrict the Supreme Court from ruling on political, security and budget matters, among others.

Friedmann plans to file a highly controversial bill on Monday concerning the court.

Barak, who served on the Supreme Court from 1995 until the mid-2006, has recently met with several political figures in what has been described as an effort to block Friedmann's initiative to reform certain areas relating to Israel's highest court.

"A retired justice must not forget that he or she is still a justice of the court," Friedmann said in the interview. "The rule used to be that justices speak only during rulings - and this is also written in their ethical code. This has maintained the court's status so far, but today we're hearing different talk."

Friedmann went on to speak about "justices who think the Supreme Court should have the right to veto legislation," and added that the court should not have that right. "The Supreme Court is very monolithic. Anyone who dares to level the slightest criticism at it is immediately transformed into a public enemy and is seen as a danger to human rights. I'm not the only one who is being delegitimized, although the criticism I get is arguably more acrimonious," said the minister.

In regard to his intention to dispense with two of the three justices presiding on the judges' selection committee, Friedmann said he is adamant about "stopping the Supreme Court from duplicating itself." He added that he would not insist on replacing the two justices with retired district court judges. "They can be public figures from other spheres," he said.

The Knesset plenum will vote on a first reading of the two bills authored by Friedmann. One of them is aimed at reducing the number of serving judges on district court benches. Friedmann and the courts have reached an understanding on that bill.

However, his second bill, which would give the justice minister new authority in transferring cases from one court to another, has generated controversy.

Friedmann had planned to submit the bill last week for its first reading, but eventually agreed to postpone the move. MK Eitan Cabel, Labor's secretary general, was among the people who asked Friedmann to sit on the bill for another week.

One of the minister's staff members told Haaretz that the bill is not intended to infringe on anyone's authority, including that of the president of the Supreme Court. "The bill itself limits the minister from transferring specific cases, but only certain kinds of cases," one official close to the minister said."