Thirteen retired High Court judges, Ninty retired senior bureaucrats and Eithgy Seven retired armed forces officers have written an open letter urging the Supreme Court not to expunge the remarks made in the judgment delivered by the Court in Zakia Jafri's plea for an investigation into the alleged larger conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The Supreme Court in its Judgment had come down heavily on who abused the process of Court to "keep the pot boiling" in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice C T Ravikumar had said, "The protagonists of quest for justice sitting in a comfortable environment in their air-conditioned office may succeed in connecting failures of the State administration at different levels during such horrendous situation, little knowing or even referring to the ground realities and the continual effort put in by the duty holders in controlling the spontaneous evolving situation unfolding aftermath mass violence across the State", and had directed, "As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law".

Subsequent to the Judgment, Teesta Setalvad and R B Sreekumar were arrested for alleged fabrication of evidence regarding the 2002 Gujarat riots cases. They were remanded to judicial custody after the expiry of police custody.

A letter was written to the Chief Justice of India by Senior Advocates and other personalities seeking suo motu clarification of the Judgment. The letter was signed by Senior Advocates Chander Uday Singh, Anand Grover, Indira Jaising, Sanjay Hegde and others like Ramachandra Guha. Another similar letter had been written by a group of retired civil servents calling themselves the 'Constitutional Conduct Group'.

The present letter urges the Supreme Court not to expunge any of its remarks or be intimidated by the tactics of 'institutional disruptors'.

"The signatories of this letter, who are law abiding citizens having faith in the legal system, urge that the SCI need not expunge any of its remarks in the case of 'Zakia Ahsan Jafri v. State of Gujarat and Anr.' or be intimidated by the tactics of such institutional disruptors. Rather, the SCI would allow the law to take its own course and uphold the majesty and dignity of the Court by ensuring that the public's confidence in the judicial system stays intact", the letter says.

The letter says that since the lodging of the FIR and arrest of Teesta Setalvad, a politically motivated section of civil society has made attempts to cast aspersions on the integrity of the judiciary at large and in this case relating to Setalvad, this section has attempted to pressurise the judiciary to expunge remarks which are unfavourable to Setalvad and the two guilty IPS Officers who have fabricated evidence.

"This section should realise that SCI acted in a matter which was within its jurisdiction and any action for modification of Court proceedings, like its 'clarification' etc., must take form of a regular motion, not merely by the asking of it, and even as they pretend that the Citizens are 'totally disturbed and dismayed', so also the law abiding Citizens are disturbed and dismayed at the former's attempt to disrupt the Rule of Law", the letter says.

The letter says that the FIR against Teesta and Sreekumar is not only based upon the said judgment but independent of it also. The letter says that the registration of an FIR is strictly in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure and Setalvad and other accused can always take resort to the provisions of the Code and the Constitution. There is no prejudice to anyone in view of the robust judicial system in the country, the letter says adding "Neither Ms. Teesta Setalvad, R. B. Sri kumar nor Sanjiv Bhatt can selectively use court proceedings against others and not face the process of law themselves".

The retired judges who are signatories to the letter are:-

  • Justice Permod Kohli, Former Chief Justice, Sikkim High Court
  • Justice Kamleshwar Nath, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court & Uplokayukta, Karnataka
  • Justice R.S Rathore, Former Judge, Rajastan High Court
  • Justice S N Dhingra, Former Judge, Delhi High Court
  • Justice Karam Chand Puri, Former Judge, Punjab & Haryana High Court
  • Justice M C Garg, Former Judge, Delhi High Court
  • Justice R.K Marthiya, Former Judge, Jharkhand High Court
  • Justice Pratyush Kumar, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court
  • Justice S K Tripathi, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court
  • Justice Rajiv Lochan, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court
  • Justice D K Paliwal, Former Judge, M.P High Court
  • Justice Rakesh Saksena, Former Judge, M.P High Court
  • Justice Lokpal Singh, Former Judge, Uttrakhand High Court

Retired bureaucrats include a former RAW chief and many retired senior IAS and IPS officers, retired DGPs, former Ambassadors etc.

The open letter is titled "Interference in judiciary not acceptable".

Click here to read/download the Open Letter