The All India Bar Association (AIBA) on Saturday, unequivocally rejected the demand for ‘expunging’ of oral observations made by a bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court while hearing a petition filed by Nupur Sharma.
The press release issued by AIBA stated that “Hon’ble judges on the bench, anguished by the public order disturbance and security threat triggered by Sharma’s remarks, made some important and timely remarks which are conscientious and in the national interest.”
“AIBA, therefore, has requested the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Justice NV Ramana to not take any cognizance of any letter or petition filed before his Lordship, seeking withdrawal of those adverse remarks made by the Hon’ble Division Bench of the Supreme Court, while declining Ms Sharma’s plea to club all FIRs against her in that regard following her controversial remarks against the Prophet.”
Dr Adish C Aggarwala, Senior Advocate and Chairman of All India Bar Association, in a letter to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, said “Hon’ble Bench had sent a categorical message to the society at large by pulling up Nupur Sharma, who is a lawyer of 20 years standing at the Bar, that public personalities and spokespersons of political parties should be more careful not to hurt the religious feelings of anyone.”
The letter further read, “In the view of the matter, the Hon’ble Bench has done its constitutional duty with aplomb. It is the sovereign duty of the judiciary to insulate the secular fabric of this nation from being damaged by irresponsible acts of public figures.”
“The legal fraternity welcomes the observations made by the Hon’ble Justices, as they are directed at hate-mongers trying to divide the nation on religious grounds. India can become a powerful and developed nation only if stern action is taken against such hate-mongers irrespective of their religion.”
“While hearing cases, especially the types of ones which Nupur Sharma had brought about before it, constitutional courts cannot maintain Sphinx-like silence nor stay cold and emotionless. It is absolutely normal for judges to exhort counsel from parading all information necessary for a fair adjudication of the issue brought before them, and raise queries, doubts and even rap on the knuckles of arguing counsel for the purpose of fair and impartial resolution of the dispute.”
“Taking umbrage at such oral queries and remarks, and then filing petitions and sending letters to ‘expunge’ those remarks is not known in law. How can a oral remark become a cause of action for a fresh petition, and any order be passed?”
The AIBA, therefore, requested the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India “To reject any call or letter or petition to ‘expunge’ oral remarks made by the Hon’ble Division Bench of the apex court. The demands are untenable, unethical, unconstitutional and unprofessional.”
“Instead, in matters pertaining to state as well as disturbance to public tranquillity, public order and national integration, judicial directions should be issued to investigation agencies to complete the probe within one month and the trial should also be completed within one month. Speedy investigation and trial will be helpful in combating such crimes.”
“The Hon’ble Supreme Court is the constitutional court of the land. It has all the powers and authority to speak what appeals to its judicial conscience and mind. Any attempts from any quarter of the society, much less the legal fraternity, to undermine the Constitutional morality of the Hon’ble Supreme Court will damage the very fundamental fabric of our judicial system.”
The AIBA requested the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India to reject all attempts to make an issue out of constitutionally free-willed remarks made in national interest by a Hon’ble Division bench of the Court and warn the authors of such attempts against any more such bids in future.
The AIBA has also requested the CJI to hear the Association before passing any order on any letter petition seeking expunging of the oral remarks.