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‘Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures’: 21 judges write to CJI Chandrachud alleging efforts to undermine judiciary

The 21 signatories include former Supreme Court Justices Deepak Verma, Krishna Murari, Dinesh Maheshwari, and M R Shah, as well as former High Court judges Permod Kohli, S M Soni, Ambadas Joshi, and S N Dhingra.

On Sunday (14th April), a group of 21 retired judges from the Supreme Court and the High Courts wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India, expressing profound concern about what they see as escalating efforts to undermine the credibility and independence of the judiciary. In their letter, the retired judges address the “escalating attempts by certain factions to undermine the judiciary through calculated pressure, misinformation, and public disparagement,” emphasising the seriousness of the situation.

The 21 signatories include former Supreme Court Justices Deepak Verma, Krishna Murari, Dinesh Maheshwari, and M R Shah, as well as former High Court judges Permod Kohli, S M Soni, Ambadas Joshi, and S N Dhingra.

In a two-page letter titled: Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures, the former judges stated that they had noted that “these elements, motivated by narrow political interests and personal gain, are striving to erode the public’s confidence in our judicial system. Their methods are manifold and insidious, with clear attempts to sway judicial processes by casting aspersions on the integrity of our courts and the judges. Such actions not only disrespect the sanctity of our judiciary but also pose a direct challenge to the principles of fairness and impartiality that Judges, as guardians of the law, have sworn to uphold.”

The ex-judges stated that the strategy used by these groups is “deeply troubling”, ranging from the spread of false theories meant to harm the judiciary’s reputation “to overt and covert attempts to influence judicial outcomes in their favour.”

“This behaviour, we observe, is particularly pronounced in the cases and causes of social, economic and political significance, including the cases involving certain individuals, wherein the lines between advocacy and manoeuvring are blurred to the detriment of judicial independence,” the judges added.

Furthermore, the letter stressed that selective praise of judicial decisions when they align with one’s views, and vehemently criticising those that do not, “undermines the very essence of judicial review and the rule of law.”

The signatories of the letter added, “The judiciary, led by the Supreme Court, to fortify against such pressures and ensure that the sanctity and autonomy of our legal system are preserved. It is imperative that the judiciary remains a pillar of democracy, immune to the whims and fancies of transient political interests”.

They further extended solidarity with the judiciary and assured support in any way required to uphold the judiciary’s dignity, integrity and impartiality.

“We stand in solidarity with the judiciary and are prepared to support in any manner necessary to uphold the dignity, integrity, and impartiality of our judiciary… We anticipate your resolute guidance and leadership in these challenging times, safeguarding the judiciary as a pillar of justice and equity, the letter reads.

600 lawyers wrote a letter to CJI highlighting pressure on the judiciary from vested interest groups ahead of the Lok Sabha elections

As reported last month,  600 prominent lawyers, including Harish Salve, Manan Kumar Mishra, Adish Agarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla, Swaroopama Chaturvedi and others wrote a letter to CJI Chandrachud on 28th March expressing their concerns over attempts to undermine the integrity of the Judiciary in the country.

In the letter, they expressed their deepest concerns over the vested interest group attempting to pressure the Judiciary, influence the judiciary process and defame the courts based on stale political agendas and frivolous logic.

The letter further pointed out that the false narrative of a supposed “better past” and “golden period of the courts” is being created to show a “contrast” of what has been happening in the present. The letter read, “Their antics are vitiating the atmosphere of trust and harmony, which characterises the functioning of the Judiciary. Their pressure tactics are most obvious in political cases, particularly those involving political figures accused of corruption. These tactics are damaging to our courts and threaten our democratic fabric.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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