Retired judges and officials write open letter to CJI in response to Supreme Court’s remarks on Nupur Sharma

5 July, 2022 | Vaishali Sharma


"We, as Concerned Citizens," the letter continued, "think that the democracy of any country will stay intact until all institutions do their obligations in accordance with the constitution." Recent...

A group of retired judges, bureaucrats, and members of the armed forces sent an open letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Tuesday, condemning the Supreme Court bench’s observation of “surpassing the Laxman Rekha” while hearing former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s case, calling the remarks “unfortunate and unprecedented.”

15 senior judges, 77 retired bureaucrats, and 25 retired military forces officials submitted a letter to CJI Ramana criticising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala, who heard Nupur Sharma’s case.

“We, as Concerned Citizens,” the letter continued, “think that the democracy of any country will stay intact until all institutions do their obligations in accordance with the constitution.” Recent Supreme Court statements have transcended the Laxman Rekha and pushed us to publish an open declaration.”

The Supreme Court slammed suspended BJP spokesman Nupur Sharma on Friday, saying her outburst was to blame for a tragic event in Udaipur in which a tailor was slain.

The Supreme Court went on to criticise the suspended BJP leader, saying that she and “her loose tongue” put the entire country on fire and that she is solely responsible for what is occurring in the country, and that she should “apologise to the entire country.”

“Unfortunate and unprecedented statements originating from the two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court-Justice Surya Kant and Justice J. B. Pardiwala, while being seized of a plea by Nupur Sharma, have caused shockwaves throughout the country and overseas,” the organisation claimed in response to the Supreme Court judgement. The observations, which have been loudly broadcast by all news networks, are not consistent with judicial ethics.

These observations, which are not part of the court Order, cannot be justified on the basis of judicial propriety and fairness. Such heinous breaches are unprecedented in the history of the judiciary.”

They claimed that the observations “had no jurisprudential connection with the matter stated in the petition, and have transgressed in an unprecedented way the canons of dispensation of justice.”

“Perceptionally, the observations Nupur Sharma is found guilty with severity in a hearing in which this was not an issue at all – the assertion that she is “single-handedly accountable for what is occurring in the country” lacks logic. Perceptionally, such awareness virtually exonerates the heinous beheading at Udaipur in broad daylight.

The observations also progress to the most unjustified degree that this was done only to promote an agenda “The letter continues.

They said that the views on other agencies in the nation, without notification to them, are definitely worisome and disturbing, and that the legal profession is sure to be stunned and outraged by the observation that a FIR should lead to arrest.

“The terrible words have no comparison in the history of the judiciary and have left an indelible mark on the legal system of the world’s biggest democracy. Urgent corrective action is required since they have the potential to have major ramifications for democratic principles and the country’s security.

Emotions have run high as a result of these observations, which in some ways mitigate the barbarous heinous beheading in broad daylight in Udaipur – a case that is being investigated. The judgemental views on topics not before the Court are a travesty of the substance and spirit of the Indian Constitution. “Forcing a petitioner by such devastating statements, declaring her guilty without trial, and denying access to justice on the subject stated in the petition cannot be a feature of a democratic society,” the group concluded.

They said that a logical mind is perplexed not only by jurisprudential violations but also by the scope of the same, as Judges struck out at agencies with no holds barred and made insinuation reflections about her “clout.”

The remarks are too significant to be ignored if the rule of law and democracy are to survive and thrive, and they need to be remembered with a posture that calms minds that care about justice, according to the organisation.

Regardless of the Apex Court Judges’ undesired, unjustified, and uncalled for verbal criticisms, there is another critical part of the case.

According to the organisation, the petitioner had petitioned the Supreme Court for the transfer of numerous FIRS filed against her in various states in connection with purported statements she made during a TV discussion.

“The claims are simply one offence for which separate prosecutions (FIRS) have been initiated. Article 20 (2) of the Indian Constitution bans prosecution and punishment for the same offence more than once. Article 20 is a protected fundamental right under Part III of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has explicitly said in a number of judgments, notably Arnab Goswamy vs. Union of India (2020) and TT Anthony vs. State of Kerala, that there can be no second FIR and, as a result, no further inquiry into the second FIR on the same subject. Such an action violates basic rights protected by Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution “The letter continues.

They claimed that, rather than protecting the petitioner’s fundamental rights, the Supreme Court refused to take cognizance of the petition, forcing the petitioner to withdraw the petition and approach the appropriate forum (High Court), despite the fact that the High Court lacks jurisdiction to transfer or club FIRs or cases filed in other states.

“One cannot comprehend why Nupur’s case is treated differently. Such an attitude by the Hon’ble Supreme Court merits no plaudits and jeopardises the sanctity and honour of the land’s highest court “They also noted.