A group of 12 Rajya Sabha members has urged President Droupadi Murmu to act against a “troll army, presumably sympathetic” to Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena (Shinde)-BJP coalition for its “filthy” and “deplorable” comments against Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud.
“In a matter which is sub judice and in seisin before the Supreme Court, such despicable conduct is only possible if such people enjoy the support of the ruling dispensation,” the letter, dated January 16 but made public on Friday, says.
The letter is in the name of Congress MP Vivek Tankha. It carries the signatures also of 11 other MPs from the Congress, Shiv Sena (Uddhav), Samajwadi Party and the Aam Aadmi Party.
The troll attack apparently came as a five-judge constitution bench, headed by Justice Chandrachud, dealt with issues arising from the change of government in Maharashtra last year following the Eknath Shinde faction breaking away from the original Shiv Sena.
The MPs’ letter does not cite any particular comment by any troll but alleges “a brazen case of interference with the course of justice”.
“When the matter is sub judice, the troll army, presumably sympathetic to the interests of the ruling party in Maharashtra has launched an offensive against the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India. The words and contents are filthy deplorable which has garnered views in lakhs on social media platform,” the letter says.
“Your Excellency and constitutional and statutory authorities in India are duty bound to protect the dignity and decorum of the Indian judiciary.”
The letter quotes from the Supreme Court judgment in Vineet Narain and Others vs Union of India and Another (1996), in which Justice J.S. Verma had observed: “Be you ever so high, the law is always above you.”
It says: “We expect immediate action not only against the persons indulging in troll, but also against people behind it, i.e., supporting and sponsoring it.
“As law-abiding parliamentarians we expect immediate action against the culprits, failing which the matter has to be escalated to higher levels.”
Apart from Tankha, the signatories are Digvijaya Singh, Akhilesh Pratap Singh, Shaktisinh Gohil, Pramod Tiwari, Amee Yagnik, Ranjeet Ranjan, Imran Pratapgarhi (all Congress); Raghav Chadha (AAP); Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena-Uddhav); Jaya Bachchan and Ram Gopal Yadav (both Samajwadi Party).
On Thursday, the constitution bench of Justices Chandrachud, M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P.S. Narasimha reserved its verdict on the Maharashtra tangle.
Before the top court, the Shinde faction had justified then governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to invite Shinde to form the government.
The faction led by Uddhav Thackeray, who lost the chief minister’s chair to Shinde, had challenged Koshyari’s move.
It had also sought a reference to a seven-judge bench a 2016 judgment by a five-judge bench that said the Speaker cannot decide on the disqualification of legislators if his own disqualification is under challenge.