13 opposition MPs sent a letter to President Murmu titled "CJI Chandrachud Attacked By Trolls" requesting immediate action
In a petition to President Droupadi Murmu, several opposition MPs stated that Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud is being harassed on social media by an army of trolls who are "likely sympathetic to the interest of the ruling party in Maharashtra." This is happening as the CJI is considering a case involving the governor's role in Maharashtra during the previous government formation.
Vivek Tankha, a Rajya Sabha member for the Congress, branded such online trolling a "brazen instance of interference with the process of justice" in a letter to the President and demanded that the offenders be brought to justice right now.
Tankha was endorsed by various opposition MPs, including Congress' Digvijaya Singh, Pramod Tiwari, Shaktisinh Gohil, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Amee Yajnik, Ranjeet Ranjan, Imran Pratapgarhi, Shiv Sena(UBTPriyanka )'s Chaturvedi, AAP's Raghav Chadha, SP's Ram Gopal Yadav and Jaya Bachchan.
The Minister of Law, the Minister of IT, and the Delhi Police Commissioner have all received copies of the complaint. Tankha has that harsh punishment be taken against people guilty of trolling in a complaint similar to this to the Advocate General of India.
What is said in the complaint?
The complaint said the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court, led by CJI DY Chandrachud, is seized of and hearing an important constitutional issue in the matter of government formation and the governor's role in Maharashtra. It urged the president to take immediate action against the troll army defaming the administration of justice and the Chief Justice of India.
"Although the case is still pending, the troll army has begun an onslaught against the Hon. Chief Justice of India, ostensibly in support of the interests of the Maharashtra state government. The horrible language and substance, which has received thousands of views on social media sites, "added the letter.
"Such abhorrent behaviour is only feasible if such individuals have the backing of the governing dispensation in a case that is now under consideration and in the Supreme Court's custody. Your Excellency has a responsibility to uphold the respect and decorum of the Indian judicial system, as do the country's constitutional and legislative authorities "in the letter from the MPs.
Be you ever so high, the law is always above you, Judge JS Verma once said in the Vineet Narain case, according to the quote.
"This is another blatant instance of interfering with the administration of justice. Not only do we demand quick action against those who engage in trolling, but also against those who are supporting and promoting it. As law-abiding legislators, we demand that the offenders be immediately brought to justice "In their letter to the President, the MPs said.
Tankha and other MPs complained to the Attorney General that they were outraged by the vile behaviour of the troll army, which they assumed was sympathetic to the interests of the Maharashtra governing party against Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.
A group of lawmakers wanted to speak with him on Monday after court hours and begged him to "use your position as the Attorney General of India for starting robust and exemplary action," so he also requested some of his time.
Tankha requested the attorney general to get a report from the Delhi police commissioner with the names and contact information of those who participated in the trolls as well as those who gave them support and encouragement.
Since "what is at risk is the majesty of law, the dignity of the court, and the image of our constitutional institutions," he also wanted to give directives to the IT and law ministries to demonstrably assure visible action against the disgusting trolls and their Identities.
"Start vigorous and exemplary legal action against the vile troll leaders and their supporters on the basis of the information that is requested from the police commissioner and the two ministries. You have a responsibility to act swiftly and strictly in the following ways as the Union of India's foremost law officer and as the guardian of the law and the constitution. In the interest of the rule of law and the administration of justice, we anticipate action from you as soon as possible "stated the complaint.
Has this problem been brought up before?
The topic of judges being harassed has come up multiple times at the supreme court, and prior CJIs have also expressed worry about it. The issue of trolling at a time "when individuals are short on their patience and tolerance" was brought up earlier this month by Chief Justice Chandrachud.
During a recent event, the CJI remarked, "Every little thing that we do... in everything that you do, you face the danger of being trolled by someone who doesn't share your point of view. The Supreme Court has often brought up the problem of trolling and favoured legislation in this area in 2017.
Former Chief Justice of India NV Ramana voiced alarm about "increasing assaults on the judiciary in the media, especially social media" and said they looked to be "sponsored....motivated and targeted" when speaking at a gathering in November on Constitution Day in 2021.
Also, according to Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, CJI Ramana wrote to him demanding a legislation to stop judges being criticised on social media. Rijiju said that it was not possible to limit judicial criticism via law.