Alleging interference with the course of justice, 13 Opposition leaders wrote to President Droupadi Murmu requesting immediate action against the online trolling of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud.
“We are all aware that the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud is seized of and hearing an important Constitutional issue in the matter of government formation and the Governor’s role in Maharashtra. While the matter is sub judice, the troll army, presumably sympathetic to the interest of the ruling party in Maharashtra, has launched an offensive against the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India. The words and contents are filthy and deplorable, which has garnered views in lakhs on social media platforms,” the letter dated March 16 stated.
The letter is written by Congress MP Vivek Tankha and is supported by party MPs Digvijaya Singh, Shaktisinh Gohil, Pramod Tiwari, Amee Yagnik, Ranjeet Ranjan, Imran Pratapgarhi, Aam Aadmi Party’s Raghav Chadha, Shiv Sena (UBT) member Priyanka Chaturvedi and Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Bachchan and Ram Gopal Yadav. Tankha has also separately written to Attorney General of India R Venkataramani on the same issue.
The letter alleges that online trolls launched an attack on the CJI and judiciary following the hearings in a case concerning the validity of former Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s action to call for a floor test which resulted in the toppling of former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government which was replaced by that of Eknath Shinde’s. The floor test came after Maharashtra’s ruling party, Shiv Sena, broke into two factions in June 2022 – the former was headed by Thackeray, and the latter by Shinde.
Former CJI N V Ramana, speaking on Constitution Day on November 26, 2021, had expressed concern over the “increasing” attacks “on the judiciary in the media, particularly social media”. He said these attacks appeared to be “sponsored, synchronized… motivated and targeted”, and central agencies should “effectively” deal with them. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had said that CJI Ramana had also written to him requesting a law to curb social media criticism of judges. However, Rijiju said it is not feasible to restrict criticism of judges through legislation.