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Former Judge Madan Lokur, who published a biased report in Delhi riots case, now calls for Supreme Court to indulge in more activism

The retired judge also voiced his concern over the debunking of India-specific reports prepared by foreign agencies.

Retired Supreme Court Judge Madan Lokur has said that there should be more activism on the part of the Supreme Court on the issue of personal liberty, PTI has reported. Justice Lokur was speaking at the award ceremony of the India chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI-India).

Speaking at the occasion, Justice Lokur said, “Personal liberty is the most cherished aspect of our fundamental rights. And there is an obligation on the State to protect our personal liberty, not to deprive us of our personal liberty.”

He also said that the courts should step in if there is any violation of fundamental rights in the eyes of the courts, and advocated for more activism on the part of the Supreme Court in such cases.

Justice Lokur said that the quality of journalism in India has improved, however, he expressed his unhappiness over the “assault” on freedom of the press.

The retired judge also voiced his concern over the debunking of India-specific reports prepared by foreign agencies. He said, “We get information from some agency outside. They come out with a report on a particular topic but it gets debunked for a variety of reasons. One (reason) could be the methodology used by the organization, other that not enough research has been done, sometimes it is just castigated as being anti-national.”

Justice Lokur’s biased report on Delhi riots

The Delhi Riots that saw Delhi burn in 2020 became the battleground of narratives, where truth was the ultimate casualty. From the time the violence erupted, the Left-Islamist nexus has been trying its best to skew facts in favor of the aggressors and claim that it was pre-meditated violence by the Hindu community against the Muslim community. The facts, however, are far from it. A “Citizen’s report” released by a committee headed by retired Justice Madan B Lokur, analyzing the Delhi anti-Hindu riots, furthered the same narrative by cherry-picking facts and distorting the truth.

In addition to Justice Lokur, the ‘committee’ which released the report titled “Uncertain Justice: A Citizen’s Committee Report on the North East Delhi Violence 2020”, comprised former Chief Justice of the Madras and Delhi High Courts A P Shah; former judge of the Delhi High Court R S Sodhi; former judge of the Patna High Court Anjana Prakash; and former Home Secretary G K Pillai.

The report said that the Muslim community was grappling with fears of losing their citizenship due to the compounding effect of CAA and nationwide NRC. In the entire report, the Justices refused to mention who was fuelling the misinformation regarding CAA and NRC that fuelled that supposed fear of the Muslim community.

The report failed to mention who started the violence and more importantly, the violence that preceded the Delhi anti-Hindu Riots. Complete breakdown of the report and the fallacies within can be read here.

The interesting history of Justice Madan Lokur

Justice Lokur was one of the four judges who had held a press conference against then CJI Dipak Misra in 2018. Now, he is a non-resident judge at the Supreme Court of Fiji. The most interesting development, however, came when as a member of CHRI, he signed a statement along with other so-called ’eminent citizens’ against the process of NRC and detention centers for illegal migrants.

The statement read, “As concerned citizens, we look to the Supreme Court to reaffirm India’s constitutional and international obligations to rights on sensitive issues. That is why we are disappointed by recent statements by the Chief Justice of India on a complex matter relating to illegal detention and deportation, without heeding India’s own constitutional and international obligations.”

“While advocating greater detention of suspected ‘foreigners’, the Chief Justice brushed aside the Assam Chief Secretary with a stinging admonition for proposing a methodology for the release of a handful of foreign prisoners who had been in detention beyond their term of sentence for illegal entry. This was especially of concern for the case concerned the willful violation of the human rights of hundreds of detainees who were languishing in what the court itself accepts are “inhuman conditions”.  We regard these remarks as unfortunate,” it added.

However, as a Justice in the Supreme Court, Justice Lokur reprimanded the government of Assam for not speeding up the construction of detention centers.

Justice Lokur was also an executive member of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) earlier, an activist group that allegedly received funding even from the US state department. He was a member of the CHRI when he made the remarks disagreeing with India’s Citizenship Amendment Act.

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