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Retired Judges Write To CJI 'Certain Factions' Trying To Undermine Judiciary: 'Calculated Pressure...'

The letter by the retired judges came amid a war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition parties over the actions against some opposition leaders in corruption cases.

PTI
The letter by the retired judges is titled "Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures" Photo: PTI
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Without specifying any incident, a group of 21 retired judges of the Supreme Court and high courts has 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".

The letter by the retired judges came amid a war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition parties over the actions against some opposition leaders in corruption cases.

The retired judges, in their letter titled "Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures", said these critics "are motivated by narrow political interests and personal gains and are striving to erode public confidence in the judicial system."

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'Direct challenge to the principles of fairness'

The retired judges, including justices (retired) Deepak Verma, Krishna Murari, Dinesh Maheshwari and MR 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, adding that 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 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 said.

The letter writers flagged their concern 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.

Letter By 600 Lawyers

This letter comes weeks after a group of 600 lawyers, including senior advocate Harish Salve and Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India, alleging that a "vested interest group" is trying to pressure the judiciary and defame courts "on the basis of frivolous logic and stale political agendas".

The letter, dated March 26, targeted a particular group of lawyers without explicitly identifying them and claimed that they represent politicians during the day, but later attempt to sway judges through the media during the night.

The letter written to CJI contained allegations made by a group of lawyers against another anonymous group and it mentioned, "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."

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