Over 500 lawyers write to CJI: ‘Vested group trying to pressure judiciary, defame courts’

Lawyers allege pressure put on judges by spreading false narratives on social media

Supreme Court of India Supreme Court of India

Prominent senior lawyers have written to Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud alleging a vested group is trying to influence the judicial process and defame courts on the basis of stale political agendas. The lawyers demanded the apex court should take steps to protect courts from these attacks.

The group including senior advocate Harish Salve and Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra alleged in the letter, “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.”

Responding on the letter, Bar Council of India Chairman and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra told ANI, “We have told the Chief Justice of India that the manner in which the election season has been chosen by a few lawyers and attempts are being made to defame a pious institution such as our judiciary - the only goal behind this is to put pressure on judiciary and judges. They want a decision to their liking. When an accused involved in corruption case doesn't get relief from the courts, pressure tactics are done through the misuse of social media so that they get a verdict to their liking.”

Mishra said the majority of citizens and lawyers will not tolerate any of this. “I feel that the people of the country and more than 99 pc of the responsible lawyers will not tolerate any of this. So, all of us--the sensible lawyers--have written to the CJI that whatever is ongoing on social media should not be taken note of and judiciary should do its work. This is an attempt to save corrupt politicians,” he said.

“This interest group creates false narratives of a supposed better past and golden period of courts, contrasting it with the happenings in the present,” the letter said, “claiming that their comments are aimed at influencing courts and embarrassing them for political gains.”

The group of lawyers behind the letter number around 600 and also include Adish Aggarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla and Swarupama Chaturvedi, the official sources said. “Targeting critics, these lawyers have accused them of suggesting that courts in the past were easier to influence. This shakes the public's trust in courts,” they said.

"Their antics are vitiating the atmosphere of trust and harmony, which characterises the functioning of the judiciary. They have also concocted an entire theory of ‘bench fixing’ which is not just disrespectful and contemptuous but an attack on the honour and dignity of courts,” the letter said.

"They have also stooped to the level of comparing our courts to those countries where there is no rule of law and accusing our judicial institutions with unfair practices. These critics have adopted the ‘my way or the highway’ approach at work as they hail the decisions they agree with, but any decision they disagree with, is trashed, smeared and disregarded,” they said.

"This two-faced behaviour is harmful to the respect a common man should have for our legal system," the letter said and claimed that this cherry-picking has been visible in very recent judgments too. "Some elements are trying to influence who the judges are in their cases and spread lies on social media to put pressure on them to decide in a particular way," they alleged in the letter.

Questioning the timing, the lawyers said it is all happening when the country is headed for the elections. “We are reminded of similar antics in 2018-2019 when they took to their 'hit and run' activities, including fabricating wrong narratives. These efforts to belittle and manipulate the courts for personal and political reasons cannot be allowed under any circumstances," they said.

Demanding the Supreme Court to take strong action, the lawyers demanded, “Staying silent or doing nothing could accidentally give more power to those who mean to do harm. This is not the time to maintain dignified silence as such efforts are happening since a few years and too frequently.”

-with agency inputs.

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