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Sunday, August 14, 2022

‘Politically motivated section’ criticised SC’s observations against Setalvad: ex-judges

A group of former judges and bureaucrats on Tuesday disapproved the remarks of a section of civil society, which criticised the Supreme Court’s condemnation of activist Teesta Setalvad.

The group, in a statement, said since the lodging of FIR and arrest of Setalvad, “a politically motivated section of civil society has made attempts to cast aspersions on the integrity of the judiciary at large”.

“Also, this section has attempted to pressurise the judiciary to expunge remarks which are unfavourable to Setalvad and the two guilty IPS officers who have fabricated evidence.”

The group, besides veterans, said the registration of an FIR against the activist and others is strictly in accordance with the law and the accused can always take recourse to judicial remedies.

“There is no prejudice to anyone in view of the robust judicial system in the country. Neither Teesta Setalvad, R. B. Sreekumar nor Sanjiv Bhatt can selectively use court proceedings against others and not face the process of law themselves,” it added in the statement.

Last month, the apex court upheld the SIT’s clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 Gujarat riots and junked a plea by slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri’s wife Zakia Jafri. The apex court came down heavily on Setalvad and police officers, saying they made revelations — false to their knowledge — just to keep the pot boiling, and such people need to be in the dock.

The signatories of the letter said they are law abiding citizens having faith in the legal system, urged the Supreme Court to not expunge any of its remarks in the case of aZakia Ahsan Jafri v. State of Gujarat and Anr or be intimidated by the tactics of such institutional disruptors.

The statement, titled ‘Interference in judiciary not acceptable’– from 13 retired judges, 90 formed bureaucrats and 87 ex-armed forces officers – said: “This section should realise that SCI acted in a matter which was within its jurisdiction and any action for modification of Court proceedings, like its ‘clarification’ etc., must take form of a regular motion, not merely by the asking of it, and even as they pretend that the Citizens are ‘totally disturbed and dismayed’, so also the law abiding Citizens are disturbed and dismayed at the former’s attempt to disrupt the Rule of Law”.

The signatories include: former high court judges S.N. Dhingra, M.C. Garg, R.S. Rathore, former IPS officers Sanjeev Tripathi, Sudhir Kumar, B.S. Bassi and Karnal Singh, former IAS officers G Prasanna Kumar and Prema Chandra, and Lt Gen V.K. Chaturvedi (retd).

Recently, some human rights groups and civil society members criticised the apex court’s remarks against Setalvad and others, which led to registration of an FIR against her and former state DGP Sreekumar.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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