The Bar Association of India (BAI) has expressed concern and dismay over the use of "effusive terms of praise and adulation" by Supreme Court Judge Justice Arun Mishra for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying such an act served to dilute the perception of impartiality and independence of the judiciary.
It is a foundational obligation of the judges to maintain a discreet and dignified distance from the executive branch of the government, it said.
BAI President Lalit Bhasin said in a statement on Tuesday that such act also diminishes the confidence of the public as the judges of the top court are expected to decide cases against the executive branch while upholding constitutional principles and the Rule of Law as paramount.
"The executive committee of the Bar Association of India is deeply concerned and dismayed by certain statements made by Justice Arun Mishra, Judge, Supreme Court of India, as part of his vote of thanks address in the International Judicial Conference."
"The executive committee of the Bar Association of India is of the view that the use of effusive terms of praise and adulation by Justice Mishra about Prime Minister go beyond the terms of formal courtesy extended during a vote of thanks address," Mr Bhasin said.
"Such an act serves to dilute the perception of impartiality and independence and diminishes the confidence of general public as the judges of the Supreme Court are expected to decide cases against the executive branch while upholding constitutional principles and the Rule of Law as paramount," he said in the statement.
BAI further said that an independent judiciary was essential for a democratic polity and a constant vigil is necessary to maintain and strengthen it.
"Therefore it is a foundational obligation of the judges to maintain a discreet and dignified distance from the executive branch of the government and to uphold their oath of office to be just and fair, not only in their judicial conduct, but in public mind at large," Mr Bhasin said.
Justice Mishra was all praise for the Prime Minister and termed him as an "internationally acclaimed visionary" and a "versatile genius, who thinks globally and acts locally", while delivering the vote of thanks at the inaugural function of the International Judicial Conference 2020 - 'Judiciary and the Changing World' at the Supreme Court on February 22.
"Dignified human existence is our prime concern. We thank the versatile genius, who thinks globally and acts locally, Shri Narendra Modi, for his inspiring speech which would act as a catalyst in initiating the deliberations and setting the agenda for the conference," Justice Mishra, who is third in seniority in the apex court, had said while expressing gratitude to the PM for inaugurating the conference.
He had said India is the biggest democracy in the world and "people wonder how this democracy is functioning so successfully".
"India is a responsible and most friendly member of the international community under the stewardship of internationally acclaimed visionary Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi," he said.