The Executive Committee of the Bar Association of India apart from a lot of lawyers, expressed their dismay over the Supreme Court verdict holding Advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for two tweetsover Supreme Court and the CJI.
On August 18, the Committee in a statement issued said that the “freedom of speech” and the “freedom to criticize” the working of an institution are imperative for bringing about improvements through democratic means.
In the present suo motu Prashant Bhushan contempt jurisdiction case, Supreme Court has exercised for more “self-harm” than the avowed purpose of safeguarding the prestige of the institution.
“Judgments that curb the exercise of freedom of speech and expression by a member of the Bar by resort to suomotu powers is conspicuously old fashioned. The reputation of the Supreme Court of India cannot be dislodged by a couple of ‘tweets’.”The Statement
It was also pointed out that to place a set of submissions pertaining to the “Duty of the Bar to Speak” the Executive Committee had sought to intervene in the Prashant Bhushan contempt case before the Court but,the SC Registry “erroneously declined” the same.
The Association in the said intervention application had emphasized that “to comment on institutional and structural matters concerning the judiciary, judicial officers and judicial conduct generally flows from an advocate’s duty as part of the administration of justice as well as her role as a dutiful citizen.” and remarked that “Trenchant criticism, commentary, satire and humour help build institutions in a free society.”