Underlining that the observations of the Supreme Court on former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma violate judicial propriety and fairness, a group of “concerned citizens” that includes 15 former high court judges wrote an open letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India.
“The observations, simultaneously relayed by all channels in high decibel, are not in sync with judicial ethos and by no stretch these observations, which are not part of the judicial order, can be sanctified on the plank of judicial propriety and fairness,” the letter stated.
The signatories include former chief justice of the Bombay High Court Kshitij Vyas, former Gujarat High Court judge S M Soni, former Rajasthan High Court judges R S Rathore and Prashant Agarwal and former Delhi High Court judge S N Dhingra. Apart from former high court judges, 77 bureaucrats and 25 army veterans are signatories to the open letter.
“The observations, judgmental in nature, on issues not before the court, are crucification of the essence and spirit of the Indian Constitution. Forcing a petitioner by such damning observations, pronouncing her guilty without trial, and denial of access to justice on the issue raised in the petition can never be a facet of a democratic society,” the letter said.
The Supreme Court last week declined Sharma’s plea to club the hate speech cases filed against her across the country. A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala, while refusing to grant interim relief, underlined that her contentious comments were “irresponsible.”
“The way she has ignited emotions across the country…this lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country,” Justice Kant had said.
“Emotions have flared up extensively on account of these observations that in a sense dilute the barbaric dastardly beheading in broad daylight in Udaipur – a case under investigation,” the open letter said.
Another open letter to the CJI, by Jammu and Kashmir-based organisation Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice, also criticised the court’s observations on Sharma and demanded that the roster of Justice Kant be withdrawn or the judge be directed to withdraw his observations. The organisation is headed by Jammu-based advocate S S Nanda.