A number of former judges, government officials, and personnel from the armed forces have criticised the recent ruling by the Supreme Court against suspended BJP member Nupur Sharma. They claim in an open letter to CJI NV Ramana that the supreme court went beyond “Laxman Rekha” and demanded “rapid corrective” measures. Notably, on July 1, the highest court criticised Nupur Sharma for remarks she made against the Prophet Muhammad, claiming that her statements are upsetting and reeked of arrogance. The SC bench had stated that it was too late and that her remark had caused regrettable circumstances despite her remorse for her remarks against the Prophet Mohammad.

15 former judges, 77 retired government employees, and 25 retired military personnel have written an open letter to Chief Justice NV Ramana objecting to the statement made by Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala during the hearing of Nupur Sharma’s case before the Supreme Court.

In an open letter, the Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice, J&K and Ladakh at Jammu requests that Justice Surya Kant’s name be removed from the roster till he reaches superannuation and that he at the very least be instructed to retract his comments and observations from the hearing.According to the letter, Justice Surya Kant’s name should be taken off the roster until he retires, or at the at least, he should be told to retract his comments and observations from the Nupur Sharma case hearing. The signatories also defended Sharma’s plea for clubbing all FIRs against her citing previous orders of the apex court.

The letter said “We, as concerned citizens, do believe that democracy of any country will remain intact till all the institutions perform their duties as per the constitution. Recent comments by the two judges of the Supreme Court have surpassed the Laxman Rekha and compelled us to issue an open statement.” It further claimed that these “unfortunate and unprecedented” comments have sent shockwaves in the country and outside. Noting that Nupur Sharma sought access to the justice system before the highest court, the statement said the court’s observations have no connect jurisprudentially with the issue raised in the petition and “transgressed in an unprecedented manner all canons of the dispensation of justice”, adding “She was defacto denied access to judiciary and in the process, there was an outrage on the preamble, spirit and essence of the Constitution of India.” It further said, “Legal fraternity is bound to be surprised and shocked at the observation that an FIR should lead to arrest. The observations on other agencies in the country, without notice to them, are indeed worrisome and alarming.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. The observations, simultaneously relayed by all news channels in high decibel, are not in sync with judicial ethos. By no stretch these observations, which are not part of the judicial Order, can be sanctified on the plank of judicial propriety and fairness. Such outrageous transgressions are without parallel in the annals of Judiciary.” They also said “ the oral statements of SC have no connect jurisprudentially with the issue raised in the petition, transgressed in an unprecedented manner all canons of dispensation of justice”. “Perceptionally the observations– Nupur Sharma is adjudged with severity guilty in a proceeding where this was not an issue at all – Reflection-she is “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country” has no rationale. By such observation perceptionally there is virtual exoneration of the dastardliest beheading at Udaipur in broad daylight. The observations also graduate to most unjustifiable degree that this was only to fan an agenda,” the letter stated. “Urgent rectification steps are called for as these have potentially serious consequences on democratic values and security of the Country… Emotions have flared up extensively on account of these observations that in a sense dilute the barbaric dastardly beheading in broad daylight in Udaipur – a case under investigation. The observations, judgmental in nature, on issues not before the Court, are crucification of the essence and spirit of the Indian Constitution. Forcing a petitioner by such damning observations, pronouncing her guilty without trial, and denial of access to justice on issue raised in the petition, can never be a facet of a democratic society,” the group wrote.“The allegations constitute only one offence for which separate prosecutions (FIRs) were launched. Article 20 (2) of the Constitution of India prohibits prosecution and punishment more than once for the same offence. Article 20 falls under Part III of the Constitution and is a guaranteed fundamental right. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in a number of cases including Arnab Goswamy vs. Union of India (2020) and T.T. Anthony vs. State of Kerala clearly laid down the law that there can be no second FIR and consequently there can be no fresh investigation in respect to the second FIR on the same issue. Such an action is violative of fundamental rights as guaranteed under Article 20(2) of the Constitution of India.”


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