Controversial Judicial Bill: Outraged Poles Take to the Street

Picture of Pole Protester Kasia Starosciak rallying the crowd..
Picture of Pole Protester Kasia Starosciak rallying the crowd..

Tens of thousands of poles take to the street as the government plans to put a controversial judicial bill in operation.

The Senate, upper house of the Polish Parliament, approved the bill on Saturday that sparked a massive national outcry.

President Duda of Poland has constitutional authority to approve or veto bill in 21 days. Although, Mr. Duda is unlikely to veto the bill, the protesters persistently demands him to veto.

Thousands of protesters gathered at the Presidential Palace in protest to warn government on the new legislation. This protests have shaken more than 100 cities of Poland.

The protesters demand free court and freedom. Thousands of protesters held posters written their demands on them.

Many posters read, “we want a veto,” reflecting their demand for a veto by the President to halt the legislation. Many other posters read, “freedom,” “free court,” “independence,” etc.

This bill is internationally criticized because it aims to put the Supreme Court under the government control. The Polish Supreme Court is regarded as one of the last independent institutions that operates disregarding the political influence of the government.

“Bringing the courts under the control of the governing party in the manner proposed by the Law and Justice Party … will ruin the already tarnished public opinion about Polish democracy.”

The new legislation aims to force the current Supreme Court judges into early retirement. New judges would be appointed by the Justice Ministry.

US State Department and European Union openly criticized the move.

Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission said, “each individual law, if adopted, would seriously erode the independence of the Polish judiciary…. Collectively, they would abolish any remaining judicial independence and put the judiciary under full political control of the government.”

European Council President Donald Tusk said,  “Bringing the courts under the control of the governing party in the manner proposed by the Law and Justice Party … will ruin the already tarnished public opinion about Polish democracy.”

US State Department warned Polish government in a tweet. It says, “US urges Poland to ensure that any judicial reform does not violate (the) constitution & respects judicial independence.”


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