600 Lawyers Writes to Chief Justice, Claim Group Trying To “Defame Courts”

Group of legal luminaries, spearheaded by senior advocate Harish Salve and Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra, has penned a letter to the Chief Justice of India, raising serious concerns about what they term as attempts to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

The letter, dated March 26 and addressed to CJI DY Chandrachud, accuses a “vested interest group” of employing pressure tactics to influence judicial proceedings, particularly in cases involving allegations of political corruption. The lawyers assert that such actions not only pose a threat to the integrity of the courts but also endanger the democratic fabric of the nation.

Without naming specific individuals, the missive takes aim at a section of lawyers allegedly engaged in a dual role of defending politicians during the day and attempting to sway judges through media influence at night. It claims that this group fabricates narratives of a purportedly superior past era of the judiciary, contrasting it with current events to exert political pressure on the courts.

The group behind the letter, comprising approximately 600 legal professionals, emphasizes the need to safeguard the judiciary from political and professional pressures. Among its notable members are Adish Aggarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla, and Swarupama Chaturvedi.

Although the letter refrains from citing specific cases, its timing coincides with a period when courts are grappling with high-profile corruption cases involving opposition leaders. Opposition parties have accused the central government of engaging in politically motivated vendettas, a charge vehemently denied by the ruling BJP.

The lawyers lambast critics for insinuating that courts were more susceptible to influence in the past, thereby eroding public trust in the judicial system. They condemn the propagation of theories such as “bench fixing” as disrespectful and damaging to the dignity of the courts.

The letter alleges that certain elements are attempting to influence judicial appointments and resorting to social media smear campaigns to coerce judges into favorable decisions. It raises suspicions about the timing of these efforts, coinciding as they do with impending elections.

In a resolute call to action, the legal community urges the Supreme Court to take proactive measures to shield the judiciary from external pressures. They warn against complacency, stressing the imperative for the CJI’s leadership to uphold the judiciary’s independence and integrity in these challenging times.

As this issue unfolds, it underscores the critical importance of preserving the judiciary’s autonomy and ensuring that justice remains blind to political influence.

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