Modi’s picture in SC mails raises eyebrows; apex courtroom objects, Govt rushes to take away

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Since its launch six months in the past, the Central Government has been going all out to advertise the showpiece initiative, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, to mark 75 years of Independence subsequent 12 months.

But this has now led to questions being raised over the inclusion of advertisements for the occasion with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in emails despatched to advocates by the Registry of the Supreme Court.

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Several advocates confirmed to The Indian Express that the photographs had been included as a part of e mail signatures — and stated this blurred the road separating the judiciary and govt.

Late Friday, the Registry stated in an announcement that the National Informatics Centre (NIC), “which provides the email services to the apex court, was directed to drop that image from the footer of the emails originating from the Supreme Court”.

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“It was further directed to use the picture of the Supreme Court of India, instead. NIC has since complied with the directions…,” it stated.

The assertion was issued hours after a lawyer red-flagged the advertisements in a message on the WhatsApp group of the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association.

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“Sir, I have received this notice from the Registry with a snapshot of the Prime Minister. The same does not seem to be in order of the Supreme Court’s position as an independent organ and not a part of the government. Request you to kindly take up the same with the Hon’ble Chief Justice with a note of protest if you deem appropriate,” the message stated.

Soon, even because the apex courtroom’s secretary common Sanjeev S Kalgaonkar stated he was not conscious of such incidents, the Advocates-on-Record association’s secretary Joseph Aristotle stated additional plan of action will probably be deliberate after a proper criticism is acquired from attorneys.

Advocates-on-Record (AoR) are attorneys certified to plead earlier than the Supreme Court — solely an AoR can file a case within the apex courtroom. The Registry handles the back-end operations of the courtroom, and communicates with AoRs on the standing of circumstances.

When contacted, an NIC official stated: “This script is used in all NIC platforms. Today, we have taken steps to remove this from the Supreme Court platform… a message related to Gandhi Jayanti was being used earlier.”

Hours later, the Registry issued its assertion. “Late last evening, it was brought to the notice of the Registry…that the official emails of the Supreme Court of India were carrying an image as footer, which has no connection whatsoever with the functioning of the judiciary,” it stated.

Asked concerning the advertisements in emails, Senior advocate Chander Uday Singh described them as “highly objectionable”. “The Supreme Court and all other courts of India are not government offices and not intended to be used as propaganda machinery of the government,” Singh stated.

Another advocate, who didn’t want to be named, stated: “The Supreme Court must not only be independent but must also be seen to be independent. In the minds of people, if the image of the judiciary being separate from the political executive is to be maintained, any such association must be avoided.”

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