'SC's Remarks on Nupur Sharma Not in Sync With Judicial Ethos': Letter To CJI
The list of signatories include five retired judges, 77 retired bureaucrats and 25 retired Armed Forces officers.
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A group of former judges and bureaucrats wrote an open letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Monday, 4 July, against the observations made by Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala while hearing former Bharatiya Jana Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma's case in the Supreme Court.
The letter stated that the recent comments by the two judges have surpassed the “Laxman Rekha” and “compelled us to issue an open statement."
The list of signatories include five retired judges, 77 retired bureaucrats and 25 retired armed forces officers. Some of them include former chief justice of the Bombay High Court Kshitij Vyas, former Gujarat High Court judge SM Soni, former Rajasthan High Court judges RS Rathore and Prashant Agarwal, and former Delhi High Court judge SN Dhingra.
Calling the comments “unfortunate and unprecedented,” the letter said that their remarks “have sent shockwaves in the country and outside.”
It said, “The observations, simultaneously relayed by all news channels in high decibel, are not in sync with judicial ethos. By no stretch these observations, which are not part of the judicial Order, can be sanctified on the plank of judicial propriety and fairness. Such outrageous transgressions are without parallel in the annals of Judiciary.”
'She Was Denied Access to Judiciary'
The letter condemned the Court’s statements and said the observations have no connect jurisprudentially with the issue raised in the petition.
It alleged, "She was de facto denied access to judiciary and in the process, there was an outrage on the Preamble, spirit and essence of the Constitution of India."
The letter said that in the judges’ observations, there is virtual exoneration of the "dastardliest beheading at Udaipur in broad daylight." It added, "Legal fraternity is bound to be surprised and shocked at the observation that an FIR should lead to arrest. The observations on other agencies in the country, without notice to them, are indeed worrisome and alarming."
The signatories also defended Sharma's plea for clubbing all FIRs against her citing previous orders of the SC.
The letter stated, "One fails to understand, why Nupur's case is treated at a different pedestal. Such an approach of the Supreme Court deserves no applause and impacts the very sanctity and honour of the highest court of land."
What Was Said During Nupur Sharma's Hearing?
The bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala made the remarks during Nupur Sharma's plea to move all the First Information Reports (FIRs) registered against her over the matter to Delhi. Her plea was dismissed by the court.
The case pertained to her remarks against Prophet Muhammad.
"The way she has ignited emotions across the country. This lady is singlehandedly responsible for what is happening in the country. We saw the debate on how she was incited... She should apologise to the whole country," Bar and Bench quoted Justice Surya Kant as saying.
The SC had castigated Sharma for her anti-Muhammad remarks and said that she should apologise to the whole nation.
J&K Forum for Human Rights Condemn SC's Observations
Meanwhile, the Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice, J&K, and Ladakh at Jammu, have also written to CJI NV Raman urging him to ask the judges to withdraw their unconstitutional remarks.
The Forum said in a letter to CJI:
“We the members of the Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice, J&K, and Ladakh at Jammu which has been conducting its activities for social harmony and justice, do feel utmost pain and agony by the conduct and remarks made by the Honourable Justice Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala, while dealing with the writ petition filed by Ms. Nupur Sharma seeking transfer of all the FIRs as lodged against her to Delhi in order to face the trial.”
Some of the signatories include SS Nada, advocate and trustee of the Forum; Justice (Retd) Sunil Hali; Subhash Gupta, retired district judge; Majaor General (Retd) SK Sharma and Lt Gen (Retd) RK Sharma.
'Judges Considered Themselves Above the Law': Forum
The forum observed that Justice Surya Kant has “forgotten the principles” as laid by the Supreme Court of giving a “free and fair trial” as his comments against Sharma are biased in the minds of judiciary, including the high courts of the country.
The letter stated that judges cannot be considered above the law and that by making these statements orally, “the Judges have considered themselves above the law and the observations as made by the bench, in our opinion, would help justify the acts of the accused persons involved in the ghastly and inhuman act of murdering a man in Udaipur, Rajasthan and then brandishing their act and these remarks and observations made by the judges against Nupur Sharma may give further rise to such incidents and tension in the country.”
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