Clip Shows Chief Justice of Singapore Speaking on Theocratic Judges? No!

The clip shows former director of the National Judicial Academy, Dr G Mohan Gopal, delivering a speech at a seminar.

3 min read
Clip Shows Chief Justice of Singapore Speaking on Theocratic Judges? No!
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A video is being shared on the internet with users claiming that it shows the Chief Justice of Singapore, Justice Sundaresh Menon speaking on how the Indian Constitution could be hijacked to turn the country into a 'Hindu Rashtra'.

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

(More archives of similar claims can be found herehere, and here.)

Are these claims true?: No, it shows renowned legal academician and former director of the National Judicial Academy, Dr G Mohan Gopal, speaking at a seminar in New Delhi which talked about "Executive Interference in Judicial Appointments."

  • It was organised on 18 February by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms.

  • During his speech, Gopal highlighted how the judiciary could be hijacked to establish a Hindu theocracy. He further urged the collegium to diversify the judiciary and make it a representative one.


What led us to the truth?: Noticing that the video had a "Live Law" logo on the right side of the screen, we performed a keyword search and came across an extended version of the viral clip.

  • The video was uploaded on the official YouTube channel of Live Law and was uploaded on 21 February.

  • Its headline said, "Theocratic Judges Who Find Source Of Law In Religion Than Constitution Increased: Dr Mohan Gopal."

  • He compared the difference in the number of "constitutionalist judges" – who believe in the supremacy of the constitution –between the current and the previous government.

  • Gopal mentioned that the first phase towards making the country a Hindu theocracy is to appoint judges who look at external sources other than the constitution in their judgments. The second is appointing those who identify the sources.

  • This is where he can be heard making the statement, as in the viral clip at around the 14:50 mark.

Why is it being shared?: On 3 February, Singapore's Chief Justice, Justice Menon, watched proceedings of the Indian Supreme Court alongside his counterpart.

  • He was the chief guest invited to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Supreme Court's establishment.

  • On 4 February, he also delivered a lecture on the topic - The Role of the Judiciary in a Changing World.

The report was published on 3 February.

(Source: The Indian Express/Screenshot)

Did he make any such comments on the Indian judiciary?: No, he didn't. On the contrary, he said the "Supreme Court of India is one of the busiest courts in the world."

  • He further appreciated the Justices by saying that "they are among the hardest working judges because of the immense caseload they carry."

  • The full transcript of the speech can be accessed here.

On comparing the person seen in the viral clip and a picture of Justice Menon, we found that it was not him.

A comparison clearly shows that it was not Justice Menon who was seen speaking in the video.

(Source: Singapore Supreme Court website/Altered by The Quint)

Conclusion: The remarks made about how the judiciary can be hijacked to establish a Hindu theocracy were made by Dr G Mohan Gopal and not the Chief Justice of Singapore.


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Topics:   Supreme Court   Fact Check   Webqoof 

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