Old Photo Of Sonia Gandhi With Ex-CJI Balakrishnan Falsely Shared As Justice Pardiwala
The claim also falsely stated that Pardiwala himself was a Congress MLA, and a speaker in the 7th Gujarat Assembly, whereas it was his father Burjorji Cawasji Pardiwala who held these positions.
A photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi standing with a judge is being shared with the claim that Gandhi is seen here standing with Justice JB Pardiwala, who was one of the Supreme Court Judges to reprimand former Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her remarks about Prophet Muhammad. The posts sharing the photo also claim that Pardiwala was a Congress MLA in the 1980s, and that he was a speaker in the 7th Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
BOOM found these claims to be false; we ascertained that the judge seen in the photo is not Pardiwala, but former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan. The claim also falsely stated that Pardiwala himself was a Congress MLA, and a speaker in the 7th Gujarat Assembly, whereas it was his father Burjorji Cawasji Pardiwala who held these positions.
On July 1, 2022, during the plea appeal by Sharma to club the FIRs against her on her remarks against the Prophet, Pardiwala and Justice Surya Kant, who oversaw the proceedings, rebuked her for her comments and highlighted her role in igniting communal tensions which eventually led to the murder of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal.
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BOOM found the photo being circulated on Facebook with the following caption:
Original Hindi caption: यह रहा जस्टिस जे बी पादरीवाला. जिन्होंने रियाज के हाथ में गर्दन काटने वाली चाकू के लिए नूपुर शर्मा को जिम्मेदार बताया, पहचानिए, ये माननीय 80 के दशक में कांग्रेसी एमएलए रहे हैं और गुजरात के सातवें विधानसभा में स्पीकर भी.- रहे है, सोचिए कि भारत की न्यायपालिका की साख का दम क्यों घुट रहा है ?
English translation: This is Justice JB Padriwala (sic). Who blamed Nupur Sharma for the knife that cut a neck in Riyaz's hand. Recognize, this honorable has been a Congress MLA in the 80s and has also been a speaker in the seventh assembly of Gujarat. Think why the credibility of India's judiciary is being suffocated?
Looking for the Hindi caption on social media, we found the image going viral with the same claims on Facebook and Twitter.
BOOM ran the image through several reverse image searches, but could not find any leads. We then looked through the comments of one of the viral posts, and found a user stating that the person in the photo is former CJI Balakrishnan.
We searched for images of former CJI Balakrishnan and Sonia Gandhi, and came across a photo by Getty Images which showed them standing together in the exact setting as the viral photo, wearing the same clothes.
The caption of the photo read, "New Chief Justice of Indian K. G. Balakrishnan being congratulated by Defence Minister AK Antony as UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan look on, after the swearing-in ceremony of Balakrishnan at Rashtrapati Bhavan, on January 14, 2007 in New Delhi, India."
We then started looking at the claim about Pardiwala being a Congress MLA and a speaker in the 7th Gujarat Assembly.
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Pardiwala's profile on the Supreme Court's website mentioned that he was a student in the 1980s, working his way to a law degree. "Graduated from J.P. Arts College, Valsad in the year 1985. Obtained Law Degree from K.M. Law College, Valsad in the year 1988 and Sanad on 18th November, 1988," it stated.
His profile also mentioned that his father, Burjor Cawasji Pardiwala, who was also a lawyer, was the speaker in the 7th Gujarat Legislative Assembly. This provided us a clue that the viral claims are perhaps using the posts held by Pardiwala's father to misleadingly claim that it was Pardiwala himself who held those posts.
We started looking for more information on the posts held by Burjor Cawasji Pardiwala. We accessed the entire list of speakers in the Gujarat Assembly in an Indian government website, and found Burjorji Pardiwala's name appear as a speaker in the 8th Legislative Assembly of the state.
Furthermore, we found an obituary by Business Standard on Burjorji Pardiwala, which mentioned that he was an MLA for the Congress in Gujarat's Valsad constituency.
We the looked through a website of the Election Commission of India, for the list of past assembly members in the Valsad constituency.
Burjorji Pardiwala's name did in fact appear as a Congress MLA in the constituency from 1985-1990.
This establishes that the viral claims used the posts held by Justice Pardiwala's father (that of a Congress MLA and Gujarat Assembly Speaker), to misleading claim that it was Pardiwala himself who held those posts.
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