Justice Niyay Bindu Faces Online Trolling for Kejriwal Bail Decision, Right-wing Critics Question Her Integrity as a Judge

Snobar and Sajid Raina, TwoCircles.net

New Delhi: The decision by Special Judge Niyay Bindu to grant bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the city’s excise policy case has ignited a substantial backlash online. Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and influential figures on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) have expressed strong opposition towards the judge. Critics argue that the judge did not thoroughly assess the extensive documentation presented by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) before granting bail.

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This criticism gained momentum after the Delhi High Court halted Kejriwal’s release from Tihar prison a day after he was granted bail, following urgent proceedings by the ED. The decision to stay his release has triggered widespread online condemnation of Judge Bindu, reflecting deep-seated animosity regarding her handling of the case.

The special judge has previously served as a senior civil judge in the Rohini court, Delhi North West district, and also held the position of senior civil judge in Dwarka. Reports indicate she possesses considerable expertise in both civil and criminal law.

In the order granting relief to Kejriwal, which was issued on June 21, the vacation judge emphasized that, prima facie, guilt had yet to be established. “It is possible that some individuals associated with the applicant are implicated in an offense…. However, the ED has not presented direct evidence linking the applicant to the proceeds of crime,” the judge stated.

She also questioned the ED’s failure to address Kejriwal’s assertion that he was arrested in the money laundering case related to an alleged excise scam without being named in the first information report (FIR) or the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the anti-money laundering agency. The ECIR is equivalent to an FIR.

Judge Bindu remarked that the ED had not specified the timeframe required to complete tracing the full money trail. “This implies that until the ED completes tracing the remaining amount, the accused must remain incarcerated without sufficient evidence against him. This stance by the ED is unacceptable.”

The legal principle that presumes every individual innocent until proven guilty appears to have been overlooked in this case involving the accused. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, the judge emphasized, “It is better that 100 guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer.” She observed the principle not only obligates the court to prevent guilty individuals from evading justice but also ensures that no innocent person is wrongly punished.

There have been numerous instances where individuals endured prolonged trials and suffering, only to be acquitted when their innocence was eventually proven. Unfortunately, the mental and physical anguish suffered by such individuals cannot be adequately compensated. If an accused person endures the injustices of the legal system until their innocence is recognized, they may never truly feel that justice has been served.

The judge dismissed the ED’s argument that “investigation is an art” and that sometimes an accused is enticed with bail and pardon assurances to reveal information about the offense. “If true, this approach could allow any person to be implicated and detained based on selectively procured evidence while withholding exculpatory material. This scenario compels the court to infer bias on the part of the investigating agency,” stated the judge.

Judge Trolled for Bail Order

Social media was flooded with criticism and hatred directed at Judge Bindu after she granted bail to Kejriwal allegedly without reviewing the extensive ED documents, citing their volume as impractical.

An ‘X’ user, Professor Sudhanshu Trivedi, a supporter of the Modi government with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture and the slogan “Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar” on his bio, posted in Hindi, “Miliye Rouse Avenue Court ki judge Justice Niyay Bindu se. Zara theek se pehchaan lijiye judge sahiba ko. Judge Justice Niyay Bindu ne hi Arvind Kejriwal ko bail di thi, wo bhi kaise Ram hi jaane inke paas ED ke aaropon ko padhne ka samay tak nahi tha, bina document padhe inhonne Kejriwal ko bail de di. Gajab ka justice diya ja raha hai????”

(Meet Judge Niyay Bindu of the Rouse Avenue Court. Take a good look at this judge. It was she who granted bail to Arvind Kejriwal. Only God knows how she did not have time to read the ED’s charges. She granted bail without reading the documents. What kind of justice is this?)

One Arun Pudur, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur with 110.6K followers on the microblogging site and his posts filled with communal hatred, shared an image of the judge with her bail order, captioning it, “Gems of Judiciary: Meet Justice ‘Niyay Bindu’ of the Rouse Avenue Court, who granted bail to Kejriwal without reading ED documents, saying, ‘Who has time to read thousands of pages?’

With judges like this, who needs foreign interference in our democracy?”

Tathvam Asi, a pro-Hindutva and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter with 36,000 followers known for his anti-minority sentiments, wrote on ‘X’ alongside a picture of Judge Bindu, “This is Niyay Bindu of Rouse Avenue Court, granting bail to Kejruddin without reading ED documents, saying ‘who has time to read thousands of pages.’ What does this say about our judiciary? Shouldn’t she be dismissed?”

Another Right-wing troll, Bhiku Mhatre, who goes by the username Mumbaich Done and has 165.5K followers, commented, “She is Justice ‘Niyay Bindu’ of Rouse Avenue Court, who granted bail to Kejriwal WITHOUT reading ED documents. Justice Bindu said, ‘Who has time to read thousands of pages?’

I agree and sympathize with her. She is burdened with heavy workload while Supreme Court judges have ample free time. Is it time to relieve her from these overloaded responsibilities?”

His bio claims himself to be a professor with expertise in finance and good insights into politics and international affairs.

Similarly, Desi Thug, a staunch BJP supporter with 18,200 followers and followed by Prime Minister Modi, weighed in, “Judge Niyay Bindu rightly pointed out the impracticality of sifting through thousands of pages of documents. I empathize with her plight. It seems she’s drowning in workload, while SC judges appear to have all the leisure.”

Another right-wing user, Amitabh Chaudhary, who identifies as a ‘Rag Rag Hindu’ and whose posts are filled with communal rhetoric, wrote on ‘X’ about the Kejriwal bail order, “Meet Justice Niyay Bindu of Rouse Avenue Court. She granted bail to Arvind Kejriwal without reading ED documents, saying, ‘Who has time to read thousands of pages?’ Such judges should be removed from service if they can be so ignorant in such a high-profile case.”

Notably, all tweets share identical narration, with a few sentences being verbatim copies of each other.

‘Online Trolling Threatens Judicial Independence’

Abu Bakar Sabbaq, a criminal lawyer who practices at the Delhi High Court, has strongly denounced the online trolling directed at a judge, labelling it a politically motivated assault. He asserted such behaviour aims to coerce the judiciary into refraining from ruling in favour of those opposed to the current regime.

He underscored the growing normalization of online trolling in India and its perilous implications for judicial independence. According to him, this cyber harassment poses serious threats to judges and their families, who lack special security and navigate the same public spaces as ordinary citizens.

He cautioned that fostering animosity towards judges could escalate into physical attacks and compromise the judiciary’s autonomy.

Sulaiman Mohammad Khan, an advocate at the Supreme Court, emphasized that online trolling could undermine the independence and impartiality of the judiciary by potentially influencing judges’ decisions. He stressed that judicial rulings must solely be based on the merits of each case and the law of the land.

While acknowledging the importance of judges considering humanitarian aspects in their judgments, Khan emphasized that judges should be shielded from extraneous influences.

He asserted that judges should not be subjected to personal criticism, warning that sustained attacks could lead trial court judges to adopt a more cautious approach in granting bail. This, he argued, could contradict the legal principle that “bail is the rule, and jail is the exception”, potentially impacting judicial decisions influenced by fear of social media backlash or other forms of public criticism.