New Delhi : Advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri was sworn in as an additional judge of the Madras High Court, even as the Supreme Court was hearing two petitions challenging her appointment citing her alleged hate speeches against Christians and Muslims.
Victoria Gowri, a lawyer from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu, was one of the five advocates recommended for the elevation as the judges of the Madras High Court by the Supreme Court collegium on January 17. Gowri has also been the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Mahila Morcha, the women’s wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Days after the collegium’s recommendation, a report in Article 14 detailed several hate speeches allegedly made by Gowri against Christians and Muslims.
After the hate speeches came to light, a group of 21 advocates from the Madras High Court Bar Council sent representations urging President Droupadi Murmu and the Supreme Court Collegium to reconsider the decision to elevate Gowri as a judge. In their representation dated February 1, the protesting advocates said that the recommendation to elevate advocate Gowri “dents the independence of the judiciary”, and referred to two interviews given by Gowri where she made hate speeches against Muslims and Christians.
the Supreme Court dismissed petitions against her elevation as a judge. The petitioners had cited Ms Gowri’s alleged hate speech against Muslims and Christians, arguing it made her unfit to take the oath.
On January 17, the Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, had recommended the appointment of Gowri and four others to the Madras High Court. But lawyers and legal experts criticised the collegium’s move to recommend Gowri’s name as she is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and has previously made offensive comments about Christians and Muslims.
In their letters to the Supreme Court collegium and the president, the Madras High Court lawyers referred to two interviews that Gowri gave to a YouTube channel purportedly hosted by the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.