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600 Lawyers come together and write to the CJI claiming political groups trying to "Defame Law"

A collective of legal professionals, among them senior advocate Harish Salve and Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra, have communicated to the Chief Justice of India, asserting that a particular interest group is endeavoring to exert influence on the judiciary and tarnish the reputation of courts using unsubstantiated arguments and entrenched political motives. […]

A collective of legal professionals, among them senior advocate Harish Salve and Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra, have communicated to the Chief Justice of India, asserting that a particular interest group is endeavoring to exert influence on the judiciary and tarnish the reputation of courts using unsubstantiated arguments and entrenched political motives. Their communication, dated March 26 and addressed to CJI DY Chandrachud, highlights the apparent exertion of pressure in political cases, particularly those concerning allegations of corruption against political figures.

The letter, circulated by official sources, indirectly targets a subset of lawyers who purportedly defend politicians by day and seek to sway judges through media channels at night. The group accused this faction of fabricating narratives about a supposedly superior past era of the judiciary, contrasting it unfavorably with current circumstances, with the aim of influencing court decisions for political advantage. The letter, titled “Judiciary Under Threat-Safeguarding Judiciary from Political and Professional Pressure,” was reportedly endorsed by approximately 600 lawyers, including Adish Aggarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla, and Swarupama Chaturvedi.

Although the lawyers behind the letter refrain from citing specific cases, their concerns emerge amid ongoing high-profile corruption trials involving opposition figures. Opposition parties have accused the central government of engaging in political vendettas, a claim rejected by the ruling BJP. Notable lawyers within these opposition ranks have united against the recent arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a money laundering case linked to Delhi's excise policy.These lawyers accuse critics of insinuating that courts in the past were more susceptible to influence, thereby eroding public trust in the judiciary. They condemn such behavior as detrimental to the judiciary's integrity and assert that concocting theories of “bench fixing” and comparing Indian courts to those lacking rule of law constitute disrespectful attacks on the judiciary's honor.

Furthermore, they criticize these critics for adopting a selective approach, praising decisions they agree with while disparaging and disregarding those they disagree with. The letter alleges attempts to influence the selection of judges and spread misinformation on social media to sway their decisions. Questioning the timing of these actions amid impending elections, the lawyers recall similar incidents in 2018-2019 and urge the Supreme Court to take decisive action to safeguard the judiciary from such alleged assaults. They emphasize the importance of the CJI's leadership during these challenging times, urging against maintaining a passive stance that could inadvertently empower those seeking to undermine the judiciary.

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CJI DY ChandrachudCourtLawLAWYERSPolitics