To,The Hon’ble Chief Justice of IndiaSupreme Court of India,New Delhi – 110 00115.10.2020Respected Sir,We are law students of various law schools. As students of law, we are taught in our class rooms that the independence of the judiciary is of utmost importance in protecting the pillars of a democracy. We are taught that the independence of the judiciary is the basic feature of the constitution and judiciary is the guardian and protector of fundamental rights of the citizens and public faith is the bedrock of the institution of judiciary.However, recently, we as law students have witnessed an alarming rise in the instances of intimidation and blackmailing of Supreme Court judges by making scurrilous and scandalous insinuations aimed at casting aspersions without any material or basis. Social media platforms such as twitter are being routinely misused by vested interests to influence or malign the reputation of sitting Supreme Court judges. This misuse of social mediatoday is so rampant that sometimes we as law students have observed that during the hearing of a matter inside the Supreme Court, smear campaigns are launched outside on social media platforms such as twitter against judges hearing a case by vested interests. Such attacks seriously undermine the credibility of the institution in the eyes of the citizens of this nation and also brings the administration of justice into disrepute. If ignored this evil monster would soon become one of the biggest reasons for the wrongful erosion of public faith in the institution of judiciary. The very recent instance of a wicked attack on the independence of the judiciary is that of Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy who has made scurrilous and scandalous allegations against Justice N.V. Ramana of influencing the administration of justice in the Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court and also, against Justice A.V. Sesha Sai, Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy, Justice D.V. S.S. Somayyajulu and Justice D. Ramesh. The allegations are without any basis and also, contemptuous and slanderous in nature to which one cannot shut his eyes. The matter of fact is that Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy is himself is facing prosecution in 31 criminal cases, including 11 corruption cases registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation and 7 corruption cases registered by the Enforcement Directorate involving serious offenses of money laundering. Jaganmohan Reddy is accused of serious cases of corruption and disproportionate wealth. This speaks volume about his motives of making allegations against Justice N.V. Ramana, who had recently directed the Hon’ble High Courts to form Special Benches to fast-track criminal cases against MPs and MLAs. The contemptuous allegations have also been made by Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy against Justice A.V. Sesha Sai, Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy, Justice D.V. S.S. Somayyajulu, Justice D. Ramesh of the Hon’bleAndhra Pradesh High Court after several illegal executive orders passed by his government were set aside rightfully by the hon’ble High Court. In April, 2020, the bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and JusticeAniruddha Bose dealing with a suo motto contempt petition in the case of “Re : Vijay Kurle & Ors.”, where allegations were made against Justice R.F. Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran, held that scurrilous and scandalous allegations cannot be permitted to be made against the judges of highest court of the country. The fact that a vindictive politician in power as Chief Minister of the State of Andhra Pradesh Jaganmohan Reddy is vehementlytargeting judges of a state High Court indicates that the judges of the concerned High Court are doing their job without fear or favor i.e. upholding the rule of law and making sure that the streams of justice remain unpolluted by any influence whatsoever. In the words of Aldous Huxley, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Today social media platforms such as twitter are being misused aggressively by vested interested to malign judges of the Supreme Court, where anyone can tweet anything scandalous or fake with impunity, which can be posted against any individual or a judge and the common man is very likely believe it to be true. The evil monster of mis-use social media began with rape threats to women, most of them journalists and activists and recently stooped so low that even a child of a cricketer was threatened with rape. The impunity of threatening a lady of rape or threatening a child of rape or running a smear campaign against a Supreme Court judge in order to influence or malign his reputation which in effect erodes the faith of the common man in the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court of India is all the same. It is basically the impunity to think that one can give rape threats or wrongfully slander judges with ulterior motivesand get away with it. The way in which social media platform such as twitter is being misused to malign the reputation of Supreme Court judges or influence judges by vested interests only speaks volumes about the misuse of social media platforms to create a perception in order to influence or malign judges and this illegal exercise also unfortunately erodes the faith of common man in the institution of judiciary. If such kind of scandalous, slanderous and contemptuous allegations are permitted to be made with impunity against the sitting judges of the highest court of this nation, then public will lose faith in the institution. We humbly submit that if the faith of the common man is allowed to be wrongfully eroded in the institution of judiciary by vested interests and is not sternly dealt with, then this would be the last nail in the coffin of the independence of the judiciary.If the faith of common man is lost then everything is lost for the institution of judiciary.Sir, healthy criticism or constructive criticism of judgements or state of affairs of judiciary is the ethos of our vibrant institution and it is required for the growth of our institution or for that matter any democratic constitutional institution. But there is a difference between constructive criticism by an individual who is well-versed with law and undertakes an intellectual exercise on a judgement or on the state of affairs of our institution. That is something we all must welcome and embrace. We all do look up to jurists such as Nani Palkhivala, HM Seervai or Fali Nariman for their intellectual constructive criticism of our grand institution. Indeed, the constructive criticism of Justice H.R. Khanna played a great role in shaping the future of our greatinstitution. Justice H.R. Khanna is our role model and we take inspiration from him and look up for his rare sense of character and spine in our judges of today. Thus, it is important to differentiate between constructive criticism and smear campaigns run on social media with ulterior motives by vested interests. Indeed, if one were to look at the ongoing present circumstances in Andhra Pradesh, one must also admit that friction between executive and the judiciary is a sign of a healthy constitutional democracy. Thus, the State High Court of Andhra Pradesh mustbe applauded for their remarkable independence in face of a vindictive State Government. The judges of High Court of Andhra Pradesh have been fearless and independent in face of a corrupt, immoral and vindictive state government, which is illegally using state machinery to compromise the independence of judiciary and intimidate and blackmail judges. The High Court of Andhra Pradesh must wear this historical moment as a badge of honor. Other High Courts must take inspiration from the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.Sir, we mustn’t forget that if we remain silent, years from now our silence will be seen as the last nail in the coffin of the independence of judiciary. The question is not about a judge in his or her personal capacity but the larger question is about the institution, the majesty of the institution, of the Supreme Court of India, the larger question is about the administration of justice, the larger question is about the streams of justice being polluted with impunity by a vindictive politician in power bringing the administration of justice in complete disrepute.Sir, judges will come and go but the institution will remain and history will of-course record the silence of those under the constitutional oath to protect the independence of the judiciary.That, we remained silent to the most gruesome attack on the independence of judiciary by a sitting Chief Minister, a politician in power. Sir, history will not judge us kindly if we remain silent today as an institution. We mustn’t remain silent as law students too. We are doing what we can by the way of their letter to your lordship. Lordship, our silence to an attack on the institution of judiciary, the highest court of the land would be seen from years from now as a complete surrender of the independence of the judiciary to a vindictive, tyrannical and fascist politician in power. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister is openly threatening, intimidating and blackmailing a sitting Supreme Court judge, who is the next Chief Justice of India.Lordship, the question here is not about Justice N.V. Ramana, the question is about the next Chief Justice of India, the question here is about the institution. The question is about the future of the institution of SupremeCourt. Can we let a vindictive, totalitarian and fascist politician in power behave in the most unconstitutional manner? A State Chief Minister has a right to convey the grievances against a sitting Supreme Court judge or the next Chief Justice of India to the sitting Chief Justice of India or even to the President of India if it concerns the sitting Chief Justice of India but the conduct of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (facing serious CBI and ED corruption cases) is not only unconstitutional but is also worrisome and if ignored may lead to constitutional anarchy.Lordship, it is pertinent to quote the words of Justice H.R. Khanna after the above paragraph, “If we have in the seats of justice persons with pliable conscience and subservient to the wishes of the political wing of the State, the first casualty would necessarily be the supremacy of the Constitution, for it would then be open to any branch of the State to ride roughshod through the provisions of the Constitution, sure in the knowledge that there would be none to prevent it. We shall thus pave the way to what may be described as constitutional anarchy andlegal chaos.” The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh wants in the seats of justice persons with pliable conscience and who are subservient to the wishes of the political wing of the State and by the way of his vindictive conduct of intimidating the judges, he is undermining the independence of judiciary in the most unconstitutional and illegal manner ever in the history of Supreme Court of India. This politician in power desires a constitutional anarchy and legal chaos in his state for his own benefit. Can we let that to happen at any cost?Lordship, it is pertinent to evoke here, the latin legal phrase “Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum” – “Let justice be done even though the heavens may fall.” (Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, Somerset v Stewart). Truly, justice must be realized regardless of consequences. Lordship, an example must be made of this politician in power Jaganmohan Reddy which will act as a deterrent for all politicians to come. So, that no Politician in power ever thinks of threatening or blackmailing a Supreme Court judge with slander and insinuations so as to pollute the streams of justice and bring the administration of justice in complete disrepute. The conduct of the Chief Minister of AndhraPradesh is not only unconstitutional but also serious and cannot be ignored.Today, it is Justice N.V. Ramana but tomorrow it could be another judge. Again this is not about a judge but it is about the institution of the Supreme Court. Lordship, can the Supreme Court function independently under the present circumstances? Can we shut our eyes to such a serious and wicked attack on the Supreme Court of India?Lordship, can justice be dispensed independently without fear in the prevailing circumstances? Can a judge of the Supreme Court under the prevailing circumstances dare to give independent orders or dispense justice without fear against the wishes of a politician in power? Every judge of the Supreme Court would now think that even hischildren would be framed in a false case at the behest of a politician in power, if he passes any order against the wishes of the politician in power. Lordships, we reiterate that the issue at hands is not about Justice N.V. Ramana, it is about the administration of justice, it is about the functioning of the Supreme Court of India without fear, it is about the independence of the judiciary, it is about the constitution, it is about the faith of the common man in the institution of Supreme Court of India. The majesty of this great institution must be zealously protected and advanced at all costs. As the father of this great institution, by way of this letter, we request you sir, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, to bring to justice the tyrannical, totalitarian and fascist politician, Jaganmohan Reddy for making such scandalous, slanderous and contemptuous allegations against a sitting Supreme Court judge. Also, it is requested that a proper mechanism be developed so as to deal with such motivated smear campaigns and misuse of social media to compromise the independence of judiciary and bring the administration of justice into disrepute.Lordship, before we end it is important to quote these words of Justice H.R. Khanna, “The independence of the judiciary is the most vital and indispensable condition for keeping alive and meaningful the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Unless you have independent courts, you might as well erase and repeal that part of the Constitution providing for fundamental rights.”Yours sincerely,Utsav Bains (Patron)Law Students:
Apoorva Maheshwari, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneJayesh Gurnani, School of Law, DAVV IndoreTushar Lamba, I.P universitySheetal Chatiani, NLU DelhiPankaj Shukla, Dr. Bhim Rao AmbedkarUniversityAgraSaket Singh, Delhi UniversityMr. Saptarshi Kar, 5th year in B.B.A. LLB., fromKIITLaw SchoolMr. Samaksh Khanna, 4th year of B.A. LLB.Hons.,Symbiosis Law School, PuneMs. Somya Vijayvargiya, 3rd year in LLB., fromModi LawCollege, Kota, RajasthanMr. Sumit Kumar Gupta, 4th year of B.A. LLB.Hons.,West Bengal University of Juridical Sciences WBNUJS,KolkataRachit Jain, 5th year Law student from the RajivGandhi National University of Law, PunjabMs. Pankhuri Swarnim, 3rd year LLB student atSymbiosis Law School, Pune.Mr. Nav Dhawan, 5th year of B.A. LLB. Hons.,Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University,Sonipat.Mr. Nikunj Bhatnagar, 3rd year of B.A. LLB.Hons., Amity Law School, Guru Gobind Singh IndraprasthaUniversity, Delhi.Ms. Rani Das, B.A. LLB. Hons., Law School,Sharda University, Noida.Mr. Saptarshi Kar, B.B.A. LLB., from KIIT LawSchool, KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar.Mr. Adrian Jayamon, B.Com. LLB. from AmityUniversity, Mumbai.Mr. Abhimanyu Asija, B.A. LLB. from Llyod LawCollege, Greater Noida.Mr. Akshay Kumar Tiwari, LLB. Hons. from AmityLaw School, Amity University, Noida.Saloni Kedia, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES Law College,PuneShubhankar Sengaonkar, 5th year BALLB, DESLawCollegeRicha Deshpande, 5th year BA. LLB, DES LawCollegeApoorva Jain, 5th year BBA LLB, Symbiosis LawSchool,NoidaShaurya Maheshwari, 5th year BA, LLB, DES LawCollege, PuneDeepshikha Badhauria, 5th year BBA LLB,SymbiosisLaw School, HyderabadShamika Raje, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege,PuneAditya Mhase, ABA College of Law, MumbaiVidyut Kayarkar, 5th year B.S.L., DES LawCollege,PuneSmita Gupta, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES Law College,PuneRadhika Rawal, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneUjjwal Kapoor, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneSaloni Chauhan, 5th year BBA LLB, SymbiosisLaw School, HyderabadTanvi Sharma, Fairfield Institute of Managementand Technology, GGSI.PU, DelhiMridul Dave, 5th year BBA LLB, Symbiosis LawSchool, HyderabadHimanshu Purohit, 5th year BBA LLB, SymbiosisLaw School, Hyderabad.Vaibhav Nijhawan, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessional Studies, GGSI.PU, DELHIRajan Sharma, Mahavir Swami Institute ofTechnology, GGSI.PU, SONIPATYogesh Verma, Govt. New Law college, IndoreParth Dixit, CPJ school of Law I.P universityAbhay Shankar Dubey, I.P UniversitySahil Rana, CPJ school of Law I.P universityAnkit Mishra, CPJ school of Law, I.P universityVarun, CPJ school of Law, I.P universitySatyam Sodh CPJ school of Law, I.P universityHarshit Dhawan, I.P UniversitySadan Verma, CPJ school of Law, I.P universitySaurabh Rawat, I.P UniversityAmruta Kharade, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege,PuneSaloni Maheshwari, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneRhea Francis, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneVaishnavi Khandelwal, 5th year B.A.LLB., DESLawCollege, PunePurvai Keprate, 5th year B.A.LLB., New LawCollege,PuneYashas Malik, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessional Studies, GGSI.PUAnimesh Shukla, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessional Studies, GGSI.PUSanya Chellani, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessional Studies, GGSI.PUPraveen Mishra, Dr. Bhim Rao AmbedkarUniversity AgraMukesh Kumar, Dr. Bhim Rao AmbedkarUniversity AgraPrateek Srivastav, Dr. Bhim Rao AmbedkarUniversity AgraShivam Sethi, Delhi Metropolitan Education,GGSI.PUAvneesh Tyagi, Delhi Metropolitan Education,GGSI.PUAbhishek Anand, Vivekananda Institute ofprofessional studies, GGSI.PU, DELHIBharti Sharma, Dr. Bhim Rao AmbedkarUniversity AgraSourish Acharya, Tezpur Law College, Tezpur,AssamManjeet Singh Verma, Law student B.A.LLB 5thyear Govt. New law College Indore Devi Ahilya UniversityIndore.Utkarsh Tripathi, Vivekananda institute ofprofessional studies, GGSI.PU.Rachidul Hoque Ahmed, LLB 5th year SemesterStudentBarpeta Law College, Barpeta, Assam.Honey Kumbhat, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessional Studies, GGSI.PUAnkur Bhalla, CPJ school of Law, I.P University.Priyanshi Mantri, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessional Studies, GGSI.PUJashim Uddin, Laskar LLB Student Ajmal LawCollege, Hojai, AssamMazhar Ul Islam, Faculty of Law Aligarh MuslimUniversity.Astha Nagori, School of Law, DAVV IndoreChanakya Dixit, University of East LondonArpit Gupta, School of Law, DAVV IndoreArpan Chodhary, School of Law, DAVV IndoreZaki Khan, School of Law, DAVV IndoreTushar Tiwari, School of Law, DAVV IndorePrashant Armo, School of Law, DAVV IndorePrasanna Shukla, Indore Institute of Law, IndoreAman Malviya, Indore Institute of Law, IndoreShivang Awasti, School of Law, DAVV IndoreSaransh Porwal, School of Law, DAVV IndoreDevansh Joshi,Vaishnav Law School, DAVVIndoreLucky Parihar, Vaishnav Law School, DAVVIndoreSurabhi Garg, School of Law, DAVV IndoreUday Bhatia, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessionalStudies, GGSI.PUAnubhav Kumar, Vivekananda institute ofprofessional studies, GGSI.PUUkhada Khedkar, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneChaitanya Hariharan, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneRahul Suneja, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar UniversityAgraAdhit Kulkarni, 4th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneAditi Zambre, 5th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneVidhushi Sabharwal, Vivekananda institute ofProfessional Studies.Ujjawal Puri, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessionalStudies, GGSI.PUAshish Pratik, Vivekananda Institute ofProfessionalStudies, GGSI.PUShakti Singh, Saraswati Vidhya Mandir LawCollege Shikarpur Bulandshahar.Yash Sharma, School of Law, DAVV, Indore.Hitesh Phulwani, VES College of Law, ChemburAditya Moghe, 4th year B.A.LLB., DES LawCollege, PuneSiddhi Mehta, 4th year B.A.LLB., DES Law College,Pune.
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