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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Former Supreme Court, High Court judges flag attempts by 'certain elements' to 'sway' courts

In a letter to Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, the ex-judges have asked that the Supreme Court be fortified against such onslaughts

Our Bureau New Delhi Published 16.04.24, 06:06 AM
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud File picture

A group of 21 former Supreme Court and high court judges has expressed concern at the “manifold and insidious” attempts by certain “elements” to “sway judicial processes by casting aspersions on the integrity of our courts and the judges”.

In a letter to Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, the ex-judges have asked
that the Supreme Court be fortified against such onslaughts.

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Without identifying anyone, the letter says: “It has come to our notice that these elements, motivated by narrow political interests and personal gains, are striving to erode the public’s confidence in our judicial system.

“Their methods are manifold and insidious, ranging from creating unfounded comparisons between the present and a glorified past, to attempting to sway judicial processes by casting aspersions on the integrity of our courts and the judges.”

The signatories include former Supreme Court judges Deepak Verma, Krishna Murari, Dinesh Maheshwari and M.R. Shah; and former Delhi High Court judges S.N. Dhingra, R.K. Gauba, G.P. Mittal and Ajit Bharihoke.

Asked for the Congress’s reaction, party communications chief Jairam Ramesh accused “21 Modi-friendly former judges” of “an attempt to intimidate, frighten and browbeat an independent judiciary”.

The former judges’ letter says: “The strategy employed by these groups is deeply troubling — ranging from the propagation of baseless theories intended to malign the judiciary’s reputation to engaging in overt and covert attempts to influence judicial outcomes to their favour.

“This behaviour, we observe, is particularly pronounced in cases involving individuals who have been political figures.... The practice of selectively praising judicial decisions that align with one’s views while vehemently criticising those that do not, undermines the very essence of judicial review and the rule of law.

“…We urge the Supreme Court to adopt measures to fortify the judiciary against such pressures and ensure that the sanctity and autonomy of our legal system are preserved.”

Ramesh told this newspaper: “This letter is part of an orchestrated campaign by the Prime Minister to threaten, browbeat and intimidate a judiciary that has flexed its muscles in recent months.

“A judiciary that has called out India’s biggest corruption scandal — the electoral bond scam.... A Supreme Court which said there is a breakdown of constitutional machinery in Manipur. That is the target....”

He said the letter “has to be seen along with the letter of 600 Modi-friendly lawyers”.

Last month, a group of 600 lawyers including jurist Harish Salve expressed the “deepest concern on the manner in which a vested interest group is trying to pressure the judiciary, influence judicial process and defame our courts on the basis of frivolous logic and stale political agendas”.

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