New Delhi: A group of fifteen retired judges, 77 bureaucrats and 25 retired officers of the armed forces have criticized two Supreme Court judges for their remarks against suspended BJP member Nupur Sharma. The group claimed that the top court crossed the “lakshman rekha” and called for “immediate reform” steps.
“In the history of the judiciary, the unfortunate remarks have no parallel and leave an indelible mark on the justice system of the largest democracy. Immediate reform measures should be taken as these have potentially serious consequences on the democratic values and security of the country. The statement bears signatures of 15 former judges, 77 former All India Services officers and 25 veterans.
“These observations, which do not form part of the judicial order, cannot be sanctified in any way on the ground of judicial propriety and impartiality. Such outrageous violations have no parallel in the history of the judiciary,” it said.
The signatories include former Bombay High Court Chief Justice Kshitij Vyas, former Gujarat High Court judge SM Soni, former Rajasthan High Court judges RS Rathore and Prashant Agarwal and former Delhi High Court judge SN Dhingra. Former IAS officers RS Gopalan and S Krishna Kumar, Ambassador (Retd) Niranjan Desai, former DGPs SP Vaid and BL Vohra, Lt Gen VK Chaturvedi (Retd) and Air Marshal (Retd) SP Singh have also signed the statement, which said It has been observed that the SC observations are not in line with the judicial ethos.
The Supreme Court on July 1 came down heavily on Sharma for his controversial remarks against Prophet Mohammad, saying his “loose tongue” had “set the whole country on fire” and that he was “for whatever is happening”. The “country” alone is responsible.
While refusing to entertain his plea to link the FIRs registered against him in various states for the remarks, the bench said the remarks were made either for cheap publicity, political agenda or some nefarious activities.
Criticizing the comments, the statement said, “We, as concerned citizens, believe that the democracy of any country will remain intact as long as all institutions perform their duties in accordance with the Constitution. Recent comments by two Supreme Court justices have left that country behind. Lakshman Rekha and forced us to issue an open statement.” These “unfortunate and unprecedented” comments have sent shock waves across the country and outside, it claimed.
Noting that Sharma sought access to the justice system before the Supreme Court, the statement said that the court’s observations have nothing to do with the issue judicially raised in the petition and “all principles of delivery of justice”. violated in an unprecedented manner”. It alleged, “They were in fact denied access to the judiciary and, in the process, resented the preamble, spirit and essence of the Constitution of India.” In the comments, there is a virtual blame for the “most brutal beheading in broad daylight in Udaipur”, it claimed.
It further said, “The legal fraternity is bound to be surprised and perplexed at the observation that an FIR should lead to an arrest. Comments on other agencies in the country, without any information, are really worrying and alarming.” The signatories also defended Sharma’s plea to club all the FIRs, citing the previous orders of the apex court.
“One fails to understand why Nupur’s case is treated in a separate post. Such an approach of the Supreme Court deserves no appreciation and affects the very sanctity and honor of the Supreme Court of the country,” it said.
Sharma’s remarks against the Prophet during a TV debate triggered protests across the country and drew sharp reactions from several Gulf countries. Later BJP suspended him from the party.