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SAVE THE JUDICIARY

Dear Fellow Citizen

19/2 is a Black Day in the history of Indian democracy. Just like during the Emergency when Indira Gandhi suspended the Fundamental Rights of citizens, and jailed all opposing voices, on 19/2 a terrible, pre-planned and deliberate attack by brute lathi force was made on the Institution of the Judiciary in the High Court of Madras.

The Judiciary has always been a pain in the neck for those in power; and rightly so, because it was this discomfort with being challenged that was the check and balance for Indian democracy, and ensured that absolute power did not corrupt absolutely. The lawyer community has always been a questioning community, challenging illegal and arbitrary government action, filing Public Interest Petitions when the government has tried to treat the State and its funds as personal properties.

There were other checks and balances put in place by the Indian Constitution to ensure that one single authority did not became so powerful that dictatorship would result. One such check and balance was the Federal structure of government i.e the Central government keeping a check on the State government.

However, thanks to the advent of coalition politics, we have a terrible situation where the DMK-Congress alliance of the UPA controls both the Centre and the State. No judges can be appointed unless the State Government approves the name suggested by the Chief Justice. The Central government, who is to apply its independent mind, is the same voice as the DMK. The only check and balance is of the Collegium of senior Supreme Court judges not objecting to the name.

In this situation, it is absolutely imperative that the Supreme Court judges are above being influenced by party politics. It is therefore important that the High Court judges, who will eventually become the Supreme Court judges, are not hardcore political party functionaries or owe allegiance to a political party.

It is the constant endeavour of the DMK to PACK the Bench with its stooges. The judges who do not comply with the State governments requirements are threatened with transfer. Judges are offered elevation to the Supreme Court or post-retirement Commissions as carrots to toe the Governments line.

The lawyer community has raised protests on several occasions when undesirable political names were chosen for appointment as Judges. The battle has been tough; sometimes won, sometimes lost. However the lawyers have always been a challenge to the governments attempts to pack the bench with DMK supporters.

On February 19, 2009 a police force of about 700 men, including Anti Riot squad armed with lathis and in battle gear was sent into the High Court campus to go on a wild and indiscriminate attack on the Judiciary. The legal community as a whole was threatened to stop their opposing voices; High Court Judges and lower court judges were assaulted in full TV camera view, their staff were brutally beaten up, their chambers were treated with contempt, their words to restore calm were not heeded, Orders by the Judges to the Chief of the Police to withdraw the police force were responded to with another lathicharge, the Court property was wantonly damaged, women lawyers molested, lawyers sitting inside their chambers more than 2 kms away from the site were pulled out and beaten up. The police were sent on a mission teach these judges and lawyers a lesson they will never forget.

Now, the judicial officers are being prevented from speaking out their protest by threats of suicide attacks, transfers, withholding of elevations to the Supreme Court and embarrassment in their private lives. The Registrars of the High Court have been prevented from filing complaints against the Police goondaism. The injured staff of the judges have been prevented from deposing before the inquiry commission. None of the injured judges have been allowed to make a statement of protest.

The Judges are being made to feel that they are not Public servants, but are government servants. While several independent Judges of the Madras High Court are deeply frustrated with the political interference in the Judiciary, several judges with political connections are keeping a careful watch over those independent judges lest they quietly cross the line.

A new Chief Justice of Madras has been appointed by the Chief Justice of India with the one point agenda of breaking the lawyers agitation to Save the Judiciary. The media is being manipulated by the State governments family influence in the leading Chennai newspaper group to underplay this serious threat.

As Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan observed when Emergency was imposed, Vinasha Kaale Vipareetha budhi. The motive behind these virulent methods is obvious. With elections around the corner, the DMK government, regularly criticised for its election malpractices, is setting the stage for minimal interference from the Legal system.

The lawyer community has been leading this agitation to restore the independence of the Judiciary. We realize the magnitude of this fight and that it is going to be a long, tough fight. But we assure you that we will not give up the fight for our democratic institutions.

The lawyers will be attending courts with message bands henceforth saying Judges are Public Servants not government servants to remind the Institution. We will be taking a slew of other measures as a constant reminder to the Judiciary that the task of standing up to astute politicians is a tough one, but one that must be done for India.

Please join the Judiciary in this fight. Ask the State Government to take responsibility for 19/2 and apologise to the judiciary. Ask the Governments to stop using political control of Appointments, transfers and elevations of judges to the Supreme Court as a method to control Judges. Ask the Governments to stop using divisive vote bank politics in the matter of judicial appointments. Ask the Governments to keep their HANDS OFF THE JUDICIARY.

Do inform your friends of this Petition. We sincerely thank you for your support.

Jai Hind.

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Latest Signatures

  • 01 December 201550. Rsubramanian Morgan
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  • 21 December 201441. Susan Horton
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  • 12 October 201440. Selango Holder
    Please do something we have to save our judiciary
  • 29 September 201439. Aalia Freeman
    I support this petition
  • 13 September 201438. Smukunth Weaver
    I accept the view expressed and it is time for us to fight for an independent judiciary.
  • 06 September 201437. Karthik Pierce
    In my opinion the advocates of Madras High Court got what they deserved. It is shameful that the courts had been functioning only for some handful of days during the last three months. These advocates under some pretext (mostly political reasons) had put
  • 15 August 201436. Mamtj Horne
    I support this petition
  • 11 July 201435. Manoj M
    Judioiary has to be saved, not just from Government, but from "committed" judges too,who have harmed the institution more....
  • 09 July 201434. Ashok S
    I support this petition
  • 10 June 201433. Bhadrinath Mcgrath
    I support this petition
  • 17 February 201432. Aiyshwarya Murillo
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  • 14 November 201331. Umapathi Bradford
    i affirm the view
  • 13 October 201330. Varshini K
    I support this petition
  • 06 October 201329. Devendra P
    I support this petition
  • 15 May 201328. Rashmi Ballard
    I support this petition
  • 08 May 201327. Vidya K
    I support this petition
  • 16 April 201326. Karthik S
    The last bastion "judiciary" cannot become the LOST bastion !
  • 02 March 201325. Prashantha Kumarst
    Judiciary must be protected to protect democracy and India
  • 07 November 201224. Gautam S
    I support this petition

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Gerald BallardBy:
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Petition target:
Indian Citizens

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