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Retired judges pen letter to CJI DY Chandrachud, raise concerns over attempts to 'undermine judiciary'

In a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, they criticized certain factions for trying to influence judicial processes through pressure tactics and misinformation. While not citing specific incidents, the letter coincided with heightened political tensions.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Published on: April 15, 2024 11:17 IST
DY Chandrachud
Image Source : PTI/FILE PHOTO Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice DY Chandrachud addresses a gathering.

A coalition of 21 retired judges, comprising members from both the Supreme Court and various high courts, has penned a letter to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, highlighting mounting efforts to destabilise the judiciary through calculated pressure, dissemination of misinformation, and public denigration. The retired judges lambasted certain factions for their vested interests in subverting the judiciary, alleging that these actors are driven by narrow political agendas and personal gains, aiming to corrode public trust in the judicial system.

Lack of specific incidents

While the letter refrained from citing specific incidents, its issuance coincided with heightened tensions between the ruling BJP and opposition parties, particularly concerning legal actions against some opposition leaders in corruption cases.

“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,” they said in the letter titled “Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures”.

Allegations of judicial manipulation

The retired jurists, including prominent figures like Justices Deepak Verma, Krishna Murari, Dinesh Maheshwari, and M R Shah, accused the detractors of employing insidious methods to influence judicial processes, thereby impugning the integrity of courts and judges.

Concerns of Judicial independence

Expressing deep apprehension, the retired judges underscored the troubling strategy of misinformation and public sentiment manipulation, particularly in cases of social, economic, and political significance, which jeopardise judicial independence.

“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,” they added.

Call for judicial fortification

Urging robust measures to safeguard the judiciary’s autonomy, the retired judges implored the Supreme Court and the broader legal fraternity to remain steadfast against external pressures, ensuring the integrity and autonomy of the legal system.

Pillar of democracy

Emphasising the pivotal role of the judiciary in upholding democratic principles, the retired judges emphasised the imperative of judicial resilience against transient political interests, underscoring the judiciary’s vital role as a bulwark of democracy.

“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,” they said.

As concerns over judicial independence and autonomy mount, the missive from the retired judges served as a clarion call for vigilance and fortitude in upholding the sanctity of the judiciary amidst evolving socio-political landscapes.

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