365 Rights Activists Stand in Solidarity with Indira Jaising and Anand Grover
May 11, 2019
Close to 400 activists from women’s groups, civil society members and human rights advocates have expressed their “horror” at the urgent hearing by the Supreme Court of a petition filed by an NGO called “Lawyers Voice” demanding that the Central Government initiate criminal proceedings against Senior Advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover.
“We write this statement in horror at the way the Supreme Court has deemed it urgent to take up a petition filed by some organisation “Lawyers Voice”, demanding that the Government of India initiate criminal proceedings against them,” a statement released by 365 activists said today.
Pointing out that many of the signatories to the statement had since the late 1970s, engaged with issues of justice, rights, and law reforms, specifically those related with women, and other marginalised sections of society, they said, “We have actively collaborated and worked with Lawyers Collective, Ms Indira Jaising, and Mr Anand Grover. We have witnessed their commitment and diligence to the cause of justice and human rights, and stand in solidarity with them today when they are being targeted.”
Referring to the case filed by the NGO, the statement said the petition was filed on May 6, 2019 and listed for May 8, 2019 before a bench comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta, asking the Supreme Court to order the government to take criminal action against another NGO “Lawyers Collective” and the two senior lawyers for apparent violation of FCRA conditions.
“It does not clearly show the locus of the petitioner in filing this petition, it does not show violation of any fundamental right which alone is an acceptable reason to approach the Supreme Court directly, and it provides no documentary evidence. This itself could be ground enough for dismissal of the petition as it is not maintainable under Article 32. And yet the bench issued notices against Lawyers Collective, Ms Indira Jaising and Mr Anand Grover. What was so urgent about this petition that it had to be rushed through in a manner that many other are not?
“This frivolous complaint is the price Ms Indira Jaising and her organisation have to pay for trying to uphold the dignity and repute of the Supreme Court and the chair of the Chief Justice,” they said while expressing grave concern that Jaising was being victimised because she had taken up the issue of the procedure adopted in relation to the allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi by a former employee of the Supreme Court.
Describing themselves as proponents of the independence of the judiciary the signatories set out four demands:
- Dismiss the petition with compensatory cost.
- An immediate halt to such harassment of individuals doing their duty by law.
- An examination of the registry to see how this matter came up with such urgency.
- An investigation into the funding sources and background of the petitioner organisation.
“At this moment those that have been entrusted these august institutions are seeming to repeatedly violate the faith that we have reposed in them. This needs to be checked before we reach a point of no return,” the statement said.
Read the full letter here:
First published in The Leaflet.
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