Ex-judges, bureaucrats slam criticism of SC's observations against Setalvad; call it 'politically motivated'
The group of 190 former judges, bureaucrats, and veterans said in a statement that the registration of an FIR against the Gujarat riot case activist and others is strictly per the law and that the accused can always seek judicial remedies.
With a section of civil society criticising the Supreme Court's condemnation of activist Teesta Setalvad, a group of former judges and bureaucrats slammed their comments as "politically motivated" and backed a criminal case against her on Tuesday.
The group of 190 former judges, bureaucrats, and veterans said in a statement that the registration of an FIR against the Gujarat riot case activist, who is now under arrest, and others are strictly per the law; the accused can always seek judicial remedies.
The statement claimed that "a politically motivated segment of civil society has made attempts to cast doubt on the integrity of the judiciary at large and, in this case, this segment has attempted to pressure the judiciary to expunge remarks which are unfavourable to Setalvad and the two guilty ex-IPS officers who have fabricated evidence."
Even though this sector of civil society pretends that the public is utterly outraged and appalled by the court's order, it said, the Supreme Court acted in a matter within its jurisdiction. Any action to modify the court's proceedings must take the form of a regular motion, it said.
Law-abiding citizens are disturbed and dismayed by the attempt to undermine the rule of law, according to a statement issued by 13 retired judges, 90 formed bureaucrats, and 87 ex-armed forces officers.
Former high court judges R S Rathore, S N Dhingra, and M C Garg, former IPS officers Sanjeev Tripathi, Sudhir Kumar, B S Bassi, and Karnal Singh, former IAS officers G Prasanna Kumar and Prema Chandra, and retired Lt Gen V K Chaturvedi are among those who have signed the statement titled "Interference in the judiciary is not acceptable."
Several human rights organisations and civil society members had criticised the Supreme Court's remarks against Setalvad and others, prompting the Gujarat Police to file a case against her and former state DGP R B Sreekumar.
Last month, the Supreme Court upheld the Special Investigation Team's (SIT) acquittal of then-Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 riots in the state, dismissing a petition by the wife of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri.
The court also chastised Setalvad, who had been prosecuting the case, and "disgruntled" Gujarat officials, among others, for making revelations that it claimed were false to their knowledge. It said that it was done to keep the pot boiling, and such people should be in jail.
The signatories of this letter described themselves as law-abiding citizens who trust the legal system. They urged the Supreme Court not to erase any of its remarks in the case or be intimidated by the "tactics of such institutional disruptors."
Instead, it said, the court should let the law take its course while upholding its majesty and dignity by ensuring public trust in the judicial system.
It stated that the accused could always invoke the law's and the Constitution's provisions.
"Because of the country's strong judicial system, no one is prejudiced. Teesta Setalvad, R B Sri Kumar, and Sanjiv Bhatt cannot selectively use court proceedings against others while avoiding the legal process themselves," it was added.
The entire world is aware, the group of retired judges and officials noted, and it is also documented in various Supreme Court orders that the court formed a Special Investigation Team at Setalvad's request (SIT).
The court also chose the members of the SIT, and the entire investigation was overseen and monitored by the court.
"This SIT is the one who discovered Setalvad and her associates involved in various crimes. As a result, the Supreme Court correctly observed in its decision what is observed. Malicious prosecution and evidence fabrication must be held accountable," according to the statement.