Day Before Lok Sabha Poll 2024 Results, Seven Ex HC Judges’ writes to President

president of india law insider in rashtrapati bhavan
president of india law insider in rashtrapati bhavan

Published on: June 03, 2024 22:36 IST

Seven former high court judges have written an open letter to President Droupadi Murmu, urging her to adhere to the “established democratic precedent” by inviting the largest pre-poll alliance to form the government in the event of a hung Parliament following the 2024 general elections. This, they argue, would preempt potential horse trading and ensure a smooth transition of power.

The retired judges also called upon Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and the Chief Election Commissioner to uphold the Constitution and facilitate a seamless transition if the current ruling dispensation loses the mandate of the people.

The open letter was signed by six former judges of the Madras High Court—G M Akbar Ali, Aruna Jagadeesan, D Hariparanthaman, P R Shivakumar, C T Selvam, S Vimala—and former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash. They expressed “genuine concern” that a loss of mandate for the current government could lead to a constitutional crisis and a tumultuous transfer of power.

Citing the May 25 statement by the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) of former civil servants, the judges emphasized the critical role of the President in such a scenario. “In the event of a hung parliament, onerous responsibilities will be placed upon the shoulders of the President of India,” they stated, urging her to invite the pre-poll alliance with the most seats and to prevent horse trading.

The letter also urged the CJI and the CEC to ensure the constitutional process is followed and to guarantee a smooth power transition. The former judges, who declare no political affiliations but a strong commitment to constitutional ideals and electoral democracy, expressed their deep anguish over recent developments concerning the 2024 parliamentary elections.

“Several events over the past weeks are making for a very grim storyline; one that may possibly end in a violent conclusion. These are genuine apprehensions in the minds of the vast majority of our people,” the letter read, echoing concerns from civil and human rights organizations.

The letter criticized the Election Commission’s refusal to disclose the exact number of votes cast at each booth and the lack of public access to Form 17(C) of the election rules. It also highlighted minimal action against hate speech by senior leaders of the ruling party as a major concern.

The judges called on the Supreme Court to be prepared for proactive action to prevent or address any crises during the counting and declaration of results. They urged that the top five justices be available to respond even during the summer vacation.

“We hope our apprehensions are wrong and the elections conclude smoothly, but prevention is better than cure,” the letter added, reminding authorities of their duty to uphold the Constitution.

The former judges’ appeal underscores the tension and uncertainty surrounding the 2024 general elections and highlights the importance of constitutional integrity and democratic processes during this critical period.

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