Vibhor Anand

Who’s afraid of “Lobby of Six”? questions Gogoi; Puts nation on alert

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

It’s the last time readers you would hear about it. So I want you to be serious. Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India and now a member of the Rajya Sabha, has said that there is a “Lobby of Six” which controls our judiciary by maligning them.  You could make it a fun exercise. Or if you are serious, reflect how our system is compromised.

Three names immediately spring to my mind as suspects: Prashant Bhushan, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi.  They opposed tooth and nail matters of national importance, such as Rafale, Ram Temple, Article 370, EVM, Loya judge case etc in varying degrees, individually or collectively.  Remember the names who wanted an “impeachment” motion against then CJI Deepak Misra? A few judges too cross my mind for some strange verdicts. But I better not spell out my hunch.

( Or it could be that Gogoi might be hinting at a completely different set who work behind the scenes. So folks, send in your choice of “Lobby of Six” on my twitter or facebook handle.  Let this issue hang in our public discourse. For your newspapers are unlikely to give it wind. They have already dug up trenches to bury Gogoi’s views. I would follow up this pieces with due credit to your credible hunches).  

Gogoi says that this “Lobby of Six” took recourse to “maligning” to control judiciary.  You only “malign” through propaganda. And propaganda is best managed by media. This is rather easy. I remember a piece I wrote when a “sexual harassment” case was popped up against Gogoi last year.  Three websites with Leftist bent–The Wire, Scroll and Caravan—made a coordinated attack. They appeared hand-in-gloves with the forces who wanted to malign our judiciary. My piece then had tried to connect the dots. Read it and see if you agree with my deductions.

The Indian Express and The Hindu are two other national dailies which are more than suspects, in my humble opinion.  The judges and advocates they have in their rosters as guest columnists/rent-a-byte individuals, all have a bent towards a particular ideology.  Refer to the pages of these two newspapers when a “sexual impropriety” charge was made against Gogoi last April. Or the recent spate of articles they have had against Gogoi’s nomination in Rajya Sabha.  That Gogoi has now chosen to speak to Times of India, and not Express and The Hindu, carries its own message. Or it could be that Express and the Hindu didn’t approach Gogoi in the first place. The latter is worse: for the gold-standard in journalism is to hear both sides of story. Don’t pronounce someone guilty unless you’ve heard him.

Be that as it may, do read Gogoi’s interview in Times of India. He makes some pertinent points which deserve to be a part of the collective memory of we the citizens who unfortunately are also readers of a few disgraceful newspapers. As per the supposed perks on being a Rajya Sabha member, Gogoi puts forth the same arguments I had questioned Left-Liberals on in recent days.

Gogoi says that Ayodhya was a unanimous verdict by a bench of five judges. So all other were compromised? Rafale too was a unanimous verdict. So the other sitting judges were also compromised? Isn’t it a slur on their integrity? Gogoi also took on his critics who said he practiced “sealed cover” jurisprudence. “Should I have made public details on Rafale”? Pakistan would’ve laughed its guts out. Why was this bunch silent when the judiciary asked for sealed cover report on “2G scam”. Or when now the Supreme Court has asked for “sealed cover” report on Shaheen Bagh?

Strong words. And a bit of humour from his ex-Lordship: “I never was, never am and never will be afraid of anyone’s opinion, except my wife.”

Hopefully, Gogoi’s interview would give teeth to “independent” voices within the judiciary.  There is no reason to buckle down to this “Lobby of Six” or anyone else. You have nobody but your conscience to be answerable to.

(Post script: As to how our judiciary functions, listen to the voice of a fearless amongst us, legal hawk Vibhor Anand, who had penned for us a few pieces in the past).

Judiciary: Dirty linen are now being washed in public

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Clearly all is not well with Indian judiciary and these are anxious time for India’s democracy.

In what is emerging as a divided house in public domain, barbs are being exchanged and motives assigned by practicing legal luminaries, both advocates and judges. Practically, the dirty lines of our judiciary are being washed in public.

The latest such episode is Supreme Court asking for response from an NGO, Lawyers Collective, and its operators, lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover on a plea alleging FCRA violations by them.

Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, and their NGO Lawyer Collective in a press statement have cried foul and alleged that this is a case of “victimization” since Ms. Jaising took up the cause of ex-woman staffer who had leveled sexual misconduct charges against the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi which now have been rejected by an In-House Inquiry Committee earlier this week.

In these columns, reports have been published how corporate lobbies and corrupt lawyers derail justice. A young Supreme Court lawyer Vibhor Anand in series of tweet-threads has alleged that law firms which hire family members/relatives of judges act as a conduit to influence judicial processes. He has further alleged that the opaque system of Collegium appoints judges in High Court and Supreme Court on recommendations influenced by corporate lobby.

The delicious irony of this all is that the lobby which ignored CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s anguish that the sexual harassment charge was an attempt to “deactivate the office of CJI” is now crying hoarse under the umbrella of “victimization.” So while this could be a plot against Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and their NGO Lawyers Collective, the “plot” theory doesn’t hold true when it comes to CJI Ranjan Gogoi!!! So, what is true for one, isn’t true for another.

While a certain lobby of lawyers and media has worked with clockwork precision to pin CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the wall, treating ex woman-staffer has a hapless victim, no thought has been spared that the CJI himself could be a “victim” in this case. In series of columns, we have highlighted how CJI Ranjan Gogoi has been virtually declared “guilty” while not a single line has been spared to pursue his line of reasoning and argument. We have also outlined the background and the related story of a lawyer claiming he has evidence it was a plot against CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

The political machinations too have played a massive role in destabilizing judiciary. Reputed lawyer Harish Salve had reacted vehemently when an impeachment process was set in motion last year against then CJI Deepak Misra. He had slammed Congress and their lawyer-politicians for vilifying the constitutional institution.

The only way to stem the rot, Salve had opined, was for Contempt of Court Act to be used with firmness and people to be sent to jail.

Speaking to Arnab Goswami, this is what Salve had said: “I believe that it is with great hesitation that the court declined to initiate Contempt of court in the Justice Loya case and I personally think it was a mistake.” With the way things were going, Salve had said, we might as well wind up the constitutional courts…if it could be vilified…without any consequences.”

Salve had cited a personal instance. “I was in Ayodhya case when (Kapil) Sibal threatened to walk out of the court…it’s awfully disrespectful of the court.”

Damningly, Salve had said: “Now that the Congress is reduced to 44, they might use the court to destabilize the government.”

Now the desperation of political survival is spreading its poison in judiciary by invoking the various lobbies they had created in the past. Lutyens Media, as ever, is pliant to their machinations and act as a forward force. In all this, the credibility of the judiciary has taken a serious beating. If judiciary goes, what survives???