For Supreme Court Justices, New Controversy Over Critics of Nupur Sharma
Fifteen former judges, 77 former bureaucrats and 25 retired armed forces officers slammed the Supreme Court’s recent comments against Nupur Sharma, the since-suspended BJP leader whose remarks about the Prophet Muhammad sparked protests and a row diplomatic.
Their open letter says the observation by the two judges – that she is “solely responsible for what is happening in the country” – was a “virtual exculpation of the most despicable beheading in Udaipur”. A tailor named Kanhaiya Lal was murdered last month in Udaipur, Rajasthan, by two men for his social media posts supporting Nupur Sharma.
Ms Sharma had gone to the Supreme Court to demand that the FIRs registered against her across the country be consolidated and moved to Delhi. The court on July 1 denied his plea and made scathing comments. Judges said Nupur Sharma’s “cowardly language” had “set the whole country on fire” and that his comments were either for cheap publicity, political agenda or “vile” activities. The observations, however, were not part of the final order.
The open letter published today says these “unfortunate and unprecedented comments” by Judiciary Surya Kant and Judge JB Pardiwala “are not in line with the judicial ethos”. “Such outrageous transgressions are without parallel in the annals of justice.” He says the comments had “no relation” to the issue raised in his petition.
As she was “denied access to justice” – the letter adds – there was “an outrage to the preamble, spirit and essence of the Constitution of India”.
On July 1, after Ms Sharma’s lawyer said she had received threats and it would not be safe for her to travel for inquests in different states, Judge Surya Kant remarked: ” Does she face threats or has she become a security threat?… It’s shameful. She should apologize to the whole country.”
Slamming Ms Sharma further, the court said her comments ‘showed her stubborn and arrogant character’. “What if she is the spokesperson for a party? She thinks she has the power and can make any statement without respecting the law of the land,” Judge Surya Kant said.
The letter against the court’s submissions says, “It is not understood why Nupur’s case is treated on a different pedestal…Such an approach by the Supreme Court deserves no applause and impacts on the sanctity and honor even of the highest court.
The 117 signatories include former Bombay High Court Chief Justice Kshitij Vyas, former Gujarat High Court Justice SM Soni, former Rajasthan High Court Justices RS Rathore and Prashant Agarwal and former Delhi High Court Judge SN Dhingra.
Former IAS officers RS Gopalan and S Krishna Kumar, former senior police officers SP Vaid and PC Dogra, Lieutenant General VK Chaturvedi (retired) and Air Marshal SP Singh (retired ) are also included.
Earlier on criticism of their observations, Justice JB Pardiwala reacted to social media attacks on him and Justice Surya Kant. “Personal attacks on judges for their judgments lead to a dangerous scenario,” he said.
“Social and digital media are mainly used to express more personalized opinions against judges, rather than a constructive critical evaluation of their judgements. This is what harms the judicial institution and lowers its dignity,” he said. yet backed in his address to a function two days ago.