Published On: Thu, Mar 28th, 2024

“Vintage Congress culture” to browbeat, bully others: PM Modi after 600 lawyers’ letter to CJI

New Delhi: Hours after more than 600 lawyers wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud against ‘vested interests’ trying to influence the judiciary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that it has been the Congress culture to browbeat and bully others.

Senior members of the bar have requested the Supreme Court to take protective measures against these attacks

PM Modi took to micro-blogging platform X and said, ”To browbeat and bully others is vintage Congress culture. 5 decades ago they had called for a “committed judiciary” – they shamelessly want commitment from others for their selfish interests but desist from any commitment towards the nation. No wonder 140 crore Indians are rejecting them.”

The response from PM Modi came after prominent lawyers including senior advocate Harish Salve, Manan Kumar Mishra, Adish Agarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla and Swaroopama Chaturvedi, Bar Council of India’s Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, Supreme Court Bar Association President Adish Aggarwala, among others, wrote the letter to the CJI.

In the letter, the lawyers alleged that this group is employing pressure tactics to influence judicial outcomes, particularly in cases involving political figures and corruption allegations. These actions, they argue, pose a significant threat to the democratic fabric and the trust placed in judicial processes.

The lawyers highlighted several concerning methods, including the propagation of false narratives about a ‘golden era’ of the judiciary, aimed at discrediting current proceedings and undermining public confidence in the courts. The accusations include ‘bench fixing’, disrespectful comparisons of domestic courts to those in lawless regimes, and direct attacks on judges’ honour.

The letter accused that the tactics employed by the interest group involve selective criticism or praise of court decisions based on their political agenda, described as a “My way or the highway” approach.
Concerns have also been raised about Political flip-flopping, where politicians alternate between accusing individuals of corruption and defending them in court.

The letter further highlighted, the use of underhand tactics and dissemination of false information to influence judicial appointments and outcomes. The lawyers note the strategic timing of these tactics around election periods, drawing parallels to similar activities in 2018-2019.

Senior members of the bar have requested the Supreme Court to take protective measures against these attacks to maintain the judiciary’s integrity. The letter calls for a united stand in support of the judiciary to ensure it remains a strong pillar of democracy, urging decisive leadership in addressing these challenges.

On the other hand, the Congress hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his criticism of the party over a lawyers’ letter to the chief justice of India against a “vested interest group”, saying the PM’s brazenness in orchestrating an attack on the judiciary, in the name of defending it, is the “height of hypocrisy”.

Congress general secretary in-charge, communications, Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X, “The PM’s brazenness in orchestrating and coordinating an attack on the judiciary, in the name of defending the judiciary, is the height of hypocrisy!”

Instead of giving a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP), the prime minister has given a legal guarantee to corruption, he alleged.

“All that the Prime Minister has done in the last ten years is divide, distort, divert, and defame. 140 crore Indians are waiting to give him a befitting reply very soon,” Ramesh said.

“The Supreme Court has delivered body blows to him in recent weeks. The Electoral Bonds Scheme is but one example. The Supreme Court declared them to be unconstitutional — and it is now proved beyond doubt that they were a blatant instrument of fear, blackmail, and intimidation to force companies to donate to the BJP,” he said.

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