Attack on the freedom of press
Journalist being harassed for reporting the truth
An open letter to the Hon’ble President of India
Complaint against the misconduct of the present CJI, Dr. AS Anand
Aug. 7th 2001
Dr. K R Narayanan
Hon’ble President of India
Hon’ble Rashtrapati ji !
1. You have received my earlier communications about the corrupt practices of the present Chief Justice of India Dr. A. S. Anand. The same is also on www.kalchakra.org. One such case related to the land scam in Madhya Pradesh was promptly forwarded to the Law Ministry by your office. When the then Law Minister, after getting convinced with the facts of the case, tried to raise the same issue with the CJI, he was shown the door in July 2000.
2. I presume you have read the published letter of eminent jurist and Hon’ble Member of Parliament Mr. Fali Nariman, which he wrote on 10th Sept. 2000 to seek Dr. A S Anand’s clarification about his role in the Madhya Pradesh land scam. So far as I know Dr. Anand has not cared to respond the same till this date.
3. You must have also read detailed articles which appeared during 2000 in Kalchakra and several other reputed publications including Frontline about the misconduct of Dr. A S Anand and some of his associate judges, since these were specially sent to you. An independent team of competent people can verify the facts of these allegations from the records of the concerned courts (Guna, Bhopal, Jammu & Srinagar). Probably you have also seen the subsequent press statement dated 15th April 2001, of Mr. Shanti Bhushan, an eminent jurist and the former Law Minister of India, in which he has openly attacked the CJI for his corrupt practices.
4. From some media publications and regular communications sent to you on different occasions, you probably know that I am being constantly harassed by the J&K High Court for having raised such uncomfortable questions about the misconduct of the highest judge of the land. This is being done through a contempt case which has been slapped on me to stop me from speaking the truth.
5. While the focus of all the reports published in Kalchakra was on the misconduct of the CJI, the contempt case, if at all, should have been initiated at the Supreme Court of India. But it has been initiated at J&K High Court. Interestingly major allegations against the CJI have been ignored and cognizance has been taken of a passing remark in one of the published report about Justice TS Doabia of the J&K High Court. It is obvious that Mr. Anand did not want the postmortem of his deeds at the Apex Court yet he wanted to teach me a lesson. Dr. Anand belongs to the state of J&K. So this contempt case was initiated in Dec 2000 from militancy gripped city of Srinagar (Kashmir) while it is a well known fact that during the winter months J&K High Court functions from Jammu and not from Srinagar. If it was not to terrorise me then what else was the motive behind this move ?
6. It is unfortunate that instead of explaining his conduct or gracefully stepping down, Dr. A S Anand is using such tactics to silence valid criticism. I say so because, a week before the notice was sent to me from Srinagar, I came to know of his plan in the third week of Dec 2000, while Dr. Anand made a quick visit to Jammu and engineered this case. I had then shared this information with several people.
7. In several serious matters concerning the security of the nation I have seen courts fixing long dates but it seems that Dr. A S Anand is in a hurry to fix me before he retires on Nov 1st 2001 that is why dates in my case are being fixed in quick succession.
8. Most shockingly the J&K High Court expected me to be present in the court on 23rd Jan 2001 on a day when the militant outfit Hurriat had given a bandh call and it was impossible to reach the court. The roads were deserted and anybody venturing out would have faced the bullets.
9. The same court again wanted me to be present in the court on 6th Feb. 2001, when the snow-clad city of Srinagar was under curfew after the militants had bombarded the Srinagar Airport and had openly attacked the Chief Minister in a public meeting. No body was allowed to move on the streets on that day. Yet the J&K High Court, Srinagar passed ex-parte orders against me on both the occasions in January – February 2001.
10. Justice Doabia was heard saying that, “Mein Vineet Narain nu maranga bhi tey awaaz bhi nahin karan devanga” (I will beat Vineet Narain and will not let him make noise). Surprisingly, in its order dt. 23.1.2001 the court passed directions preventing the publication of the proceedings of my case. This order is similar to the one passed by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in ‘Wah India’ case against which several well-known editors had jointly protested because they strongly felt that the said order was against the freedom of press. The Hon’ble court gracefully agreed to revoke the same. In my case the order has not been revoked so far.
11. The same court at Jammu once again passed orders against me in April-May 2001, when, there was a prolonged strike by the Jammu High Court Bar and not a single lawyer was appearing in the court for weeks together. No case was being listed. Why was my case taken up in such unusual circumstances ? What does it show ?
12. It is a well known fact in Delhi’s legal and media circles that I was openly attacked by the goons supporting the CJI in a seminar on ‘Corruption in Judiciary and Relevance of Contempt of Courts Act in Democracy’, being held at the Constitution Club on Jan 20th 2001. This happened in the presence of several prominent people including Mr. Vasant Sathe (Cong I) and Mr. KPS Gill (Ex-DGP, Punjab) and was reported by two TV channels and newspapers. FIR for the same was filed at the Parliament Road Police Station but the Delhi Police has no guts to investigate this broad day crime probably because it’s threads are linked with the fountain head of justice.
13. Sir ! if this can happen in New Delhi, in the presence of Supreme Court lawyers, journalists and academicians, then one can imagine what is in store for me at J&K. That too when I am under threat from militants for having exposed their clandestine funding channels in Delhi & Kashmir. I have been under the security cover for many years.
14. Realising the gravity of the situation several internationally reputed bodies committed to protect the rights of journalists such as; Committee to Protect Journalists, (New York), Human Rights Watch, (New York) and other similar organisations in Canada and Europe have already sent their protest letters to the Indian PM and to you Sir. They are concerned about this kind of attack on the freedom of press in India and about my safety. They are demanding fair probe into the conduct of concerned judges (copy enclosed).
15. The former Prime Minister of India Mr. V P Singh has also expressed concern about the danger to my life if I go to Jammu. He has gone out of the way to appeal to all the Judges of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the Hon’ble J&K High Court to ensure my safety and transfer the case to Delhi, but in vain. My repeated appeals to transfer the case have been turned down by the Apex Court. Several well known academicians and social activists have appealed to the Indian government to act but have got no response.
16. Despite all this public concern I am being constantly harassed by the police sent by the J&K High Court, which forcibly wants to take me to Jammu and prosecute without addressing to my genuine security concerns. I have learnt that recently a new bench has been constituted at Jammu to take up my case in which one of the judge is Justice T S Doabia, against whom the remarks were made in the said report. How can the same judge be the judge of his own conduct ? Is it morally justified act of the court ? Can I expect any justice from them ?
17. Sir, I am not scared of facing a contempt case or even going to jail provided it is a fair trial, which is not the case at present. My wife and young children are living in anxiety for the past several months because of the constant pressure of police and threat to my life. Are we supposed to live with such jungle law ? Several organisations of journalists and lawyers in UK & USA are suggesting, rather forcing, me to seek political asylum in their countries. They are offering all help in this regard. It is their firm belief that with this kind of things happening to us, it is unlikely that I will get justice in India or our life will be safe. I do not want to seek shelter in a foreign land and tell the world that democratic institutions have failed in India. I love my motherland and I still have faith in our institutions and in you.
18. I have nothing personal against Dr. Anand. I am concerned about the prestige of the apex court of India which is at stake because of such behaviour of Dr. Anand. I am fighting for the rights of journalists, who are often harassed in the name of contempt of court when they dare to report even about the documented misconduct of erring judges. Sir! you will agree that this practice is not healthy for the survival of Indian democracy. The controversy about the repeated misuse of this act should be resolved forever.
19. Will it not be in the interest of the judiciary to ensure a fair investigation into these allegations against Dr Anand and his associates named in these reports ? If these allegations are proved wrong I must be punished as per the law but if they are proved right then the concerned judges must suffer for betraying one billion people’s faith in Indian Judiciary.
20. It is unfortunate that the Union Law Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley is openly supporting such a CJI for reasons best known to him. Surprisingly, the Hon’ble PM is keeping quiet.
21. Sir ! Jammu / Delhi police is again chasing me for the past few days. I may be lifted and bundled to Jammu any time. Once they take me there I will be at the mercy of those whose conduct has been described above. With this background I appeal you to intervene to protect my life and liberty. Sir ! Please allow me to say that you being the head of Indian democracy cannot express your helplessness in this case and advise me to seek asylum in some foreign land, can you ?
Looking forward to your reply and prompt initiative.
With warm regards
Copy to :
· Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court of India
· Hon’ble Judges of the High Courts of India
· Hon’ble Members of the Union Cabinet
· Hon’ble Members of Parliament
· Leaders of all the Political Parties
· Heads of foreign missions in New Delhi
· President & Secretary, Supreme Court Bar Association
· Presidents & Secretaries, High Court Bar Associations of India
· CPJ & HRW (New York) and other similar organisations in Europe, Canada and Australia
· All the Editors of Indian newspapers
· Representatives of foreign media in New Delhi
· Deans, Faculty of Law in Indian universities
· District & Session Judges in the District Courts of all the states