Lawyers write to CJI, express concerns over political pressure on judiciary

Without naming anyone in the letter to CJI, the lawyers have accused the group of employing pressure tactics to influence judicial outcomes

Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud in Bengaluru on 23 March (photo: PTI)
Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud in Bengaluru on 23 March (photo: PTI)


As many as 600 lawyers, including senior advocate Harish Salve, Bar Council of India chairperson, Manan Kumar Mishra, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), expressed concerns against mounting political and professional pressure through the actions of an interest group, which they alleged was aimed at undermining the judiciary’s integrity.

Without naming anyone in the letter dated 26 March to CJI DY Chandrachud, the lawyers have accused the group of employing pressure tactics to influence judicial outcomes, particularly in cases involving political figures, which pose a significant threat to the democratic fabric and the trust placed in judicial processes.

“This heated interest group operates in various ways. They create false narratives of a supposed 'better past' and 'golden period’ of the courts, contrasting it with the happenings in the present. These are nothing but intentional statements, made to sway court decisions and to embarrass the courts for certain political gains. It's troubling to see some lawyers defend politicians by the day, and then try to influence judges through the media at night,” the letter stated.

“They have also concocted an entire theory of 'bench fixing' - which is not just disrespectful and contemptuous - it's an attack on the honour and dignity of our courts. At times, it also leads to slanderous attacks and insinuations on respected judges.

“They have also stooped to the level of comparing our courts to those countries where there is no rule of law and accusing our judicial institutions of unfair practices. These aren't just criticisms, they are direct attacks meant to damage the public's trust in our judiciary and threaten the fair application of our laws,” the letter added.

The lawyers have also accused some vested interests of trying to influence who the judges are in their cases and spread lies on social media to put pressure on the judges to decide in a particular way, threatening the fairness of Indian courts and striking at the heart of legal principles.

The lawyers have pointed to the timing of the tactics of the group as the nation heads for the Lok Sabha elections and have drawn a parallel with similar activities in 2018-2019, including fabricating narratives.

The group of lawyers, who are behind the letter titled ‘Judiciary Under Threat-Safeguarding Judiciary from Political and Professional Pressure’, number around 600 and also include Adish Aggarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla and Swarupama Chaturvedi, sources said.

Though the lawyers behind the letter have mentioned no specific cases, the development comes at a time when courts are dealing with several high-profile cases of corruption involving politicians.

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