15 retired judges, 77 retired bureaucrats, and 25 retired armed services personnel have sent an open letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana in response to Supreme Court Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala’s remarks in Nupur Sharma’s case.
While hearing Nupur Sharma’s appeal last week, the bench led by Justice Surya Kant and Justice Pardiwala declared her guilty for Kanhaiya Lal’s beheading in Udaipur. The comments made by SC judges were described as “unfortunate and unprecedented” in a declaration signed by 15 retired judges, 77 senior bureaucrats, and 25 retired military forces officials.
Kant and Pardiwala went viral on social media after many people criticised them for their comments about Sharma during her hearing.
Former Chief Justice Mumbai High Court Kshitij Vyas, Former Rajasthan High Court judges RS Rathore and Prashant Agarwal, Former Judge Delhi MC Garg, Former DGP Jharkhand Nirmal Kaur, Former DGP Manipur Mirnal Kanti Das, and Veterans Sanjay Kulkarni, PK Roy, SP Singh, and others are among the 117 signatories of the letter.
The letter stated, “we, as concerned citizens, do believe that democracy of any country will remain till all the institutions perform their duties as per the constitution. Recent comments by the two judges of the Hon’ble Supreme Court have surpassed the Laxman Rekha and compelled us to issue an open statement.”
“Unfortunate and unprecedented comments emanating from the two-Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court-Justice Surya Kant and Justice J. B. Pardiwala, while being seized of a petition by Nupur Sharma, have sent shockwaves in the country and outside,” said the letter.
Nupur Sharma had asked the Supreme Court to consolidate all FIRs filed against her across India and transfer them to Delhi. She also expressed concern about security threats to her and her family and requested protection.
The justices had criticized Nupur for her statements on the Prophet Muhammad. They said she had a “loose tongue” and that “it set the entire country on fire.” They further stated that “this lady is solely accountable for what is going on in the country.”
They also said things like “Is she a security threat or has she become one? The manner she has sparked emotions all around the country.” They even held her responsible for the murder in Udaipur. The justices demanded that she apologise to the entire nation.
The letter, which criticised the statements of the Supreme Court judges, stated, “By no stretch, these observations, which are not part of the court Order, can be sanctified on the plank of judicial propriety and fairness. Such outrageous transgressions are without parallel in the annals of judiciary.”
The letter further stated that the Supreme Court judges’ opinions had no jurisprudential link to the problem brought in the petition and violated all canons of the administration of justice in an unprecedented manner.
According to the letter, Nupur Sharma was effectively denied access to the judiciary, causing outrage on the Preamble, spirit, and core of the Indian Constitution.
“By such observation perceptionally, there is a virtual exoneration of the dastardliest beheading at Udaipur in broad daylight. The observations also graduate to the most unjustifiable degree that this was ‘only to fan an agenda’, In the annals of the judiciary, the unfortunate comments have no parallel and are an indelible scar on the justice system of the largest democracy.”
Kant and Pardiwala also questioned why Sharma had not been arrested during the hearing. The letter’s 115 signatories also addressed the Supreme Court’s decision to prevent Nupur Sharma from joining the FIRs that were filed against her.
“Instead of protecting the Petitioner’s fundamental rights, the Hon’ble Supreme Court refused to take cognizance of the Petition and forced the Petitioner to withdraw the Petition and approach the appropriate forum (High Court), knowing fully well that the High Court does not have jurisdiction to transfer or club the FIRs/cases registered in other States,” the petition said.
The ex-judges, bureaucrats, and armed forces feel “these have potentially catastrophic effects on democratic ideals and the security of the country,” according to the letter.
This comes just days after former Delhi High Court judge SN Dhingra slammed SC judges for making comments about Nupur Sharma and suggested that if a judge wants to give a speech, he should become a politician.
He also stated that the incident sent a very negative message throughout the country, stating that “the Supreme Court itself is high on the power it has and nobody can stop the Supreme Court from saying anything at its own will.”
“The observations, judgmental in nature, on issues not before the Court, are a crucification of the essence and spirit of the Indian Constitution,” the letter said.
“Forcing a petitioner by such damning observations, pronouncing her guilty without trial, and denying access to justice on issue raised in the petition can never be a facet of a democratic society, o ne cannot comprehend why Nupur’s case is treated differently; such an approach by the Hon’ble Supreme Court deserves no applause and impactss the very sanctity and honour of the Highest Court of Land.”
The Jammu-based human rights forum had written to the CJI, requesting that the lewd statements made by Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala be withdrawn. The forum deemed the judges’ words to be unlawful, claiming that they would excuse the inhumane deed committed by the murderers of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur.
The letter requested that Justice Surya Kant’s name be removed from the roster until he reaches superannuation, and that he be directed to withdraw his remarks and observations made during the hearing.
Riaz and Ghous Mohammed, two fanatical Islamists, assassinated Kanhaiya Lal. Both of them disguised themselves as clients and entered the deceased’s tailoring shop. One of the defendants stabbed Kanhaiya Lal with a long, sharp knife while he was measuring the cloth. He was stabbed 26 times just for supporting Nupur Sharma on social media.