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Legal Fraternity Group Calls for Supreme Court Intervention Against Alleged Attempts to Manipulate Courts

Lawyers Pen Letter to CJI Alleging Pressure on Judiciary by 'Vested Interest Group

New Delhi, 28-03-2024 : A consortium of legal professionals, including prominent figures such as senior advocate Harish Salve and Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra, have penned a letter to the Chief Justice of India, raising concerns about what they describe as a “vested interest group” attempting to exert undue pressure on the judiciary and tarnish the image of courts through unsubstantiated claims and political agendas.

In the letter dated March 26 and addressed to CJI D Y Chandrachud, the group expresses alarm over what they perceive as overt pressure tactics, particularly evident in cases with political implications, especially those involving corruption allegations against political figures. Without explicitly naming individuals, the letter suggests that certain lawyers operate in a manner where they advocate for politicians during the day and seek to influence judicial decisions through media manipulation at night.

According to the letter, this interest group crafts false narratives romanticizing a supposed era of judicial integrity while casting aspersions on the current state of affairs within the judiciary. The missive alleges that such actions are intended to sway court decisions and undermine their credibility for political mileage.

The letter, titled “Judiciary Under Threat-Safeguarding Judiciary from Political and Professional Pressure,” boasts a roster of approximately 600 legal professionals, including Adish Aggarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla, and Swarupama Chaturvedi, as stated by official sources.

Although the letter refrains from citing specific cases, its emergence coincides with a period marked by high-profile corruption trials involving opposition leaders. Amid allegations of political vendetta, the legal community has witnessed a divide, with some members denouncing what they perceive as attempts to undermine the judiciary’s independence.

Critics of the judiciary, as highlighted in the letter, have been accused of insinuating that past courts were more susceptible to influence, thereby eroding public trust in the judiciary’s integrity. Furthermore, the letter condemns the propagation of theories alleging “bench fixing” and compares the Indian judiciary unfavorably to systems lacking the rule of law, labeling such insinuations as disrespectful and contemptuous.

The letter contends that critics adopt a selective approach to judicial decisions, praising those aligning with their views while disparaging dissenting judgments. This, they argue, undermines public confidence in the legal system.

Moreover, the letter accuses certain elements of attempting to influence judicial appointments and using social media to pressure judges into delivering predetermined verdicts. Against the backdrop of impending elections, the signatories caution against repeating past instances of attempts to discredit and manipulate the judiciary for personal and political motives.

In light of these concerns, the legal professionals urge the Supreme Court to take proactive measures to safeguard the judiciary from external influences and to reaffirm its commitment to impartiality and integrity. They emphasize the crucial role of the CJI’s leadership in navigating these challenging times and stress the importance of decisive action to preserve the judiciary’s independence and public trust.