A group of advocates on Wednesday wrote to President Droupadi Murmu and the Supreme Court collegium expressing their opposition to the recommendation to appoint Advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri as a judge of the Madras High Court, The Leaflet reported.

In the letters, the advocates, who are member of the Madras High Court Bar, cited instances where Gowri made hate speech against Christians and Muslims.

On January 17, the Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, had recommended the appointment of Gowri and four others.

The letters noted that Gowri’s “regressive views are completely antithetical to foundational Constitutional values and reflect her deep-rooted religious bigotry”. This, the lawyers argued, made her unfit to be appointed as a High Court judge.

They referred to two interviews which Gowri gave to a YouTube channel purportedly hosted by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The interviews are titled “Cultural genocide by Christian missionaries in Bharat” and “More threat to national security & peace? Jihad or Christian missionary?”.

In the second interview, the lawyers wrote that Gowri had said: “Like Islam is green terror, Christianity is white terror....Christian groups are more dangerous than Islam groups. Both are equally dangerous in the context of love jihad.”

“Love jihad” is a debunked Hindutva idea that Muslim men lure Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam.

The lawyers also drew the attention of the president and the collegium to an article written by her in the Organiser, the English language mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.

“The Christian sectarianism and bigotry indulging in organised alluring conversions continuously has shrunk the majority Hindus to minorities,” Gowri wrote in 2012. “...But not a finger is lifted to stop allured and coerced conversions and to prevent Christians from conceiving communal conflicts.”

The advocates in their letters said her remarks in these interviews and the article amounts to hate speech and are likely to incite communal violence. “The collegium’s recommendation of a person who harbours such strong antipathy towards the minority community is disturbing, to say the least,” they added.

They asked the president and the collegium how any litigant belonging to Christian or Muslim communities “ever hope to get justice in her court if she becomes the judge”.

The lawyers noted that Gowri has also been the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party and described herself as “Chowkidar Victoria Gowri”.

The lawyers urged Murmu to return the file recommending her elevation as a judge and also seek clarification how her name was put forth for the role. They also requested the collegium to recall the recommendation, saying they are concerned about the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

“It is extremely critical, at this juncture, to safeguard the institution [judiciary] from being weakened by its own administrative action”, the letter to the collegium added.