As  Supreme Court Justice Arun Mishra, moving away from tradition of judges to be free from any political influence, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and termed him as an “internationally acclaimed visionary” and a “versatile genius, who thinks globally and acts locally,” the Bar Association of India (BAI) has expressed concern and dismay over the use of “effusive terms of praise and adulation” by Justice Mishra , 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,” said Bhasin .

“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.

An independent judiciary was essential for a democratic polity and a constant vigil is necessary to maintain and strengthen it, BAI further said.

“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,”  Bhasin said.

Justice Mishra is third in seniority at the apex court. He complemented PM Modi and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for doing away with 1,500 obsolete laws. He said India is a responsible and most friendly member of the international community under the “stewardship” of PM Modi.

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, he said, “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.”