Stop arbitrary, illegal actions against journalist Mohammed Zubair: Ex-civil servants write to AGI

New Delhi, July 17 (KMS): India’s 72 former civil servants, who are part the organisation called Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), in a letter to the Attorney General of India (AGI), have asked his personal intervention to what they call “the personal liberties of citizens of India from illegal and arbitrary actions of the executive.”

Specifically referring to the detention and deprivation of personal civil liberties of journalist and co-founder fact-checking site AltNews Mohammed Zubair “on charges that would not stand the barest of legal scrutiny”, the letter says, “We call upon you to advise the government to issue a directive to the police authorities to stop any further witch hunt against citizens exercising their right to free speech.”

Following is the full text of the letter:

We, a group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services, who have come together as the Constitutional Conduct Group and are committed to the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution are deeply disturbed by recent events which strike at the very root of fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Indian Constitution to its citizens.

We specifically refer to the continued detention and deprivation of personal civil liberties of Mohammed Zubair on charges that would not stand the barest of legal scrutiny. You would have read the comprehensive article written on this case by none other than Justice Madan B Lokur, retired judge of the Supreme Court, which clearly spells out the wrong application of law by the police as well as the judiciary.

We have been watching with dismay the cynical overzealousness of not just the law enforcement agencies but also the law officers under you to manufacture cases day after day to deliberately deprive individuals, identified as inconvenient by the Government, of their basic freedoms.

As votaries of the Constitutional precept of equality before the law, it is deeply disturbing to see the patently discriminatory treatment meted out as between a Nupur Sharma and a Mohammed Zubair. Such selective application of law flies in the face of justice as we understand it.

No doubt, we need not remind you of your bounden duty to uphold and protect the Constitution and the personal liberties of its citizens from arbitrary and illegal action. We note that you, personally, have an unblemished and outstanding record of over half a century and therefore we have high expectations that you will step in against such flagrant violations of the law on the part of law enforcement agencies as well as subordinate courts.

We call upon you to advise the government to issue a directive to the police authorities to stop any further witch hunt against citizens exercising their right to free speech and ensure that no baseless cases are filed in the future as also to instruct government advocates not to routinely oppose applications for bail.

The Supreme Court in a recent ruling has stated that indiscriminately arresting people and putting them in jail is making India a ‘police state’. We are at a loss to understand why the Solicitor General takes it upon himself to appear in all kinds of cases even to oppose bail.

As the highest law officer of this land, having earned the respect of so many across the legal and political fraternities as also the discerning public, we feel you have an obligation to rectify the situation.

If this moral imperative is left unheeded, we fear that there will be disastrous consequences for the country. We do hope that you will act swiftly to provide our people the freedom that our democracy is expected to sustain.

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