Hatemongering has become so rampant that it has crossed all limits of decency. Hatemongers are ruling the roost. They do not spare even judges in case the latter come forward to slam their shockingly obscene utterances. Take the case of their ‘physical attack’ on the members of higher judiciary who had come down heavily on now-sacked Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her blasphemous remarks on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Sharma’s avoidable comments led to a spate of violence and unrest across the country. Justices JB Pardiwala and Surya Kant on July 1 had, in their oral observations, said that Sharma was ‘single-handedly responsible’ for the tensions going on in the country, for which she should have apologised to the nation. But, as the hatemongers would have it, the Supreme Court’s oral observations received flak on social media. And a plea was filed, and an open letter sent to the Chief Justice of India, demanding that the observations made against Sharma be withdrawn.

Justice Pardiwala on July 3 said that personal attacks on judges can lead to a “dangerous scenario”. “Social and digital media is primarily resorted to expressing personalised opinions more against the judges, rather than a constructive critical appraisal of their judgements,” Justice Pardiwala stated. “This is what is harming the judicial institution and lowering its dignity.” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, while delivering the inaugural ‘Justice SB Sinha Memorial Lecture’ on “Life of a Judge”, organised by National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi, on July 23, also took up the issue to observe that the media is running “kangaroo courts” on issues even experienced judges find difficult to decide. The Chief Justice also advised the media not to “invite interference” from the government or courts by overstepping its boundaries. “Ill-informed, biased and agenda-driven” campaigns against judges, particularly on social media, and media trials affect judicial functioning. On the diatribe that judges lead “easy life”, the CJI said that it is not easy to swallow when false narratives are created about the “easy life” led by judges.

The CJI also raised a very important issue relating to the life of judges. He said, “Politicians, bureaucrats, police officers and other public representatives are often provided with security even after their retirement owing to the sensitiveness of their jobs,” and added, “Ironically, judges are not extended similar protection.” He said that there was a need to strengthen the judiciary and empower judges in order to ensure a vibrant democracy.

We strongly hope the nation would take effective measures to strengthen the judiciary and empower judges to ensure the smooth functioning of justice delivery system as well as to strike a harmonious balance between the judiciary and the executive.

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