A video clip of a man delivering a speech has been making the rounds on social media. Here, the speaker expresses his concern at the sharp rise in theocratic, traditionalist judges who consider religion, and not the constitution, to be the source of the law. He adds that this is the first phase of a two-part strategy to establish a Hindu Rashtra by 2047. According to him, instead of discarding the Constitution, the goal is to present it as a Hindu document. He believes the first step for this is to appoint judges who see theological texts as the source of the law, instead of the Constitution. And the second phase, which he says is set to start now, is to appoint judges who will identify the source. He predicts that once this goal is achieved in the next 24 years, India will become a Hindu theocracy by re-interpreting the same Constitution. He adds that the idea is to hijack the judiciary and establish a Hindu theocracy. Later in the video, the speaker says that the present government, whose explicit mission is to establish a Hindu Rashtra, should not be allowed any role in judicial appointments, and the collegium system must be protected.

While sharing this video, it is being claimed that the man in the viral clip is Sundaresh Menon, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Bharat Rashtra Samithi party member Faisal Khan tweeted this video with the same claim. (Archived link)

West Delhi Congress Seva Dal also tweeted this video with a similar claim. (Archived link)

Several other users also amplified the footage as remarks made by Sundaresh Menon on Twitter and Facebook.

Fact Check

While replying to the viral tweets, some users commented that the individual seen in the video was not Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon, but Mohan Gopal, a legal educationist. It is worth noting that Gopal also served as former director of the National Law School of India (NLSIU), Bangalore. Apart from this, the logo of ‘Live Law’ can also be seen in the video being circulated on social media.

Using this information, Alt News examined the Twitter account of LiveLaw. On February 18, LiveLaw Hindi tweeted a link to one of its articles which quoted Gopal as saying, “The number of judges who are traditionalist, and theocratic, and who find the source of law in religion (rather than the constitution), has sharply increased.” The article mentions that Gopal, a well-known legal educationist, made these remarks while giving a speech on “Executive interference in judicial appointments” organized by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR). The report states, “In his speech, Dr. Gopal raised concerns about the appointment of judges with political bias. He urged the collegium to protect the institution by consciously appointing judges committed to the constitution alone.”

Readers can watch the speech in its entirety in a video posted by Live Law dated February 21. Scenes from the viral video appear here after the 11:33 mark.

Next, Alt News also performed a Google search on Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon. This led us to an Aaj Tak report dated February 4, stating that the Supreme Court celebrated its foundation day after 73 years with Singapore’s Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon attending as the chief guest. Live Law reported that Sundaresh Menon witnessed the proceedings of the Supreme Court of India, which was headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud. However, there is no mention here of him giving a speech about the hijacking of the judiciary or the two-part strategy for the creation of a Hindu Rashtra.

To sum up, concerns over the hijacking of the Supreme Court to create a Hindu Rashtra was actually raised by legal educationist Mohan Gopal, not by Singapore’s Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon. It is also worth noting that Twitter handles like ‘@miss_roh08’ and ‘@Gasi_Nat’ later replied to their own tweets and confirmed that the speaker in the viral video was, in fact, Mohan Gopal.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.