SCBA takes dim view of SC’s Justice Mishra praising the PM

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Justice Arun Mishra

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning the apex court’s Justice Arun Mishra praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the International Judicial Conference held here last week, as “such remarks reflect poorly on the independence of the judiciary”.

Justice Mishra, who is third in seniority, on Saturday, praised Modi twice, calling him an “internationally acclaimed visionary” and “versatile genius who thinks globally and acts locally”.

Delivering the vote of thanks at a function of the International Judicial Conference 2020, he has said: “India is a responsible and most friendly member of the international community under the stewardship of internationally acclaimed visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

The lawyers’ body in a statement said it has taken note of these comments, with a deep sense of anguish and concern.

“The SCBA expresses its strong reservations of the statements and condemns the same strongly. The SCBA believes that the independence of the judiciary is the basic structure under the Constitution and that such independence be preserved in letter and spirit,” it said in a statement.

It emphasised that such proximity and familiarity may impact the decision making process by the judges, and it may give rise to justifiable doubts in the minds of the litigants on the outcome of their matters.

“The SCBA reaffirms its faith in the Constitution and independence of the judiciary and calls upon all concerned in the administration of justice to work for the same in letter and spirit,” its statement said.

The Bar Association of India has also expressed discontent on the statement made by senior Supreme Court judge praising the PM.

The association’s President Lalit Bhasin, in a statement, said: “The executive committee of the Bra Association of India is of the view that the use of effusive terms of praise and adulation by Justice Mishra about the Prime Minister go beyond the terms of formal courtesy extended during a vote of thanks address.”

It claimed that such act serves to dilute the perception of impartiality and independence, and also diminishes the confidence of the general public. “… As the judges of the top court are expected to decide cases against the executive branch while upholding constitutional principles and the rule of law as paramount,” the statement added.

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