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Retired judges write to CJI against attempts to 'undermine' judiciary

Updated on: 15 April,2024 11:27 AM IST  |  New Delhi

These critics are motivated by narrow political interests and personal gains and are striving to erode public confidence in the judicial system, they said

Retired judges write to CJI against attempts to 'undermine' judiciary

Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud. Pic/PTI

A group of 21 retired judges of the Supreme Court and high courts have written to the Chief Justice of India on the escalating attempts by "certain factions to undermine the judiciary through calculated pressure, misinformation, and public disparagement".

These critics are motivated by narrow political interests and personal gains and are striving to erode public confidence in the judicial system, they said.

Though the retired judges, including four from the apex court, did not specify the incidents which prompted them to write to the CJI, their letter came amid amid a war of words between the ruling BJP and opposition parties over the actions against some opposition leaders in corruption cases.

With affected leaders and their parties moving courts to seek relief, the BJP has often accused them of using judicial decisions selectively and cited any lack of relief for several arrested leaders to rebut the opposition's criticism.

The retired judges, including justices (retired) Deepak Verma, Krishna Murari, Dinesh Maheshwari and M R Shah, accused the critics of having insidious methods with clear attempts to sway judicial processes by casting aspersions on the integrity of 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," they said in the letter titled "Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures".

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, they said.

"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.

The letter writers said they are particularly concerned about the tactics of misinformation and the orchestration of public sentiment against the judiciary.

"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.

They urged the judiciary led by the Supreme Court to fortify against such pressures and ensure that the sanctity and autonomy of the 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 said.

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