Over a hundred students from across the country have written an open letter to the Chief Justice of India, requesting him for reconsiderations in the Supreme Court’s Order in Prashant Bhushan’s contempt of court matter.
Letter and the Contentions
It was contended that fair criticism should be considered as a part of free speech and the Judiciary must respond to the same by changing its course and restoring public faith rather than making it a part offense of the same.
“The judiciary ought to reply for criticism by restoration of public confidence. The judiciary ought to reply for criticism by changing its course. The judiciary ought not to charge for contempt when criticism arises out of anguish and love for justice, from a person aiding in profoundness of the same justice he asks for others.”
The students expressing “firm criticism” on the contempt verdict put forth that it is a “necessary right” blessed in a democracy to criticize the judge fairly, albeit fiercely and indeed no crime.
Emphasis on Re S. Mulgaokar [AIR 1978 SC 727] was given where the Apex Court’s held that the Judges should not be “hypersensitive” even where distortions and criticisms overstep the limits and expressed:
“The Supreme Court seems to have weak albeit broad shoulder for social media opinions. It feels scandalized for being fiercely criticized by one of its own whose real motive is for judicial reforms. There is only so much left to say that hasn’t already been said by the charged person himself but the hope of imploring the Court is still prevalent among some of us.”
Dismissal by the students has been expressed at three incidents that occurred during pendency of the contempt proceedings against Mr. Bhushan.
- Recalling of 2009 contempt case and relisting it suddenly
- Deletion of case from Justice DY Chandrachud led bench regarding constitutional challenge on provisions of contempt
- Suo-moto cognizance through a poor petition without sound legal reasoning on two tweets
“All of these during a pandemic when marginalized and voiceless are awaiting justice in many cases raises our doubts on intention of the judiciary.”
Justice Arun Mishra’s bench had reserved orders on the sentence in the contempt case over two tweets of Bhushan, after he refused to apologize On Aug 25.
On August 31, the Court will pronounce the sentence in the contempt case.
The SC verdict in the 2020 contempt case has drawn flak from various national and foreign Advocates bodies.
The statement of support for Bhushan has been endorsed by over 2000 lawyers, including noted Senior Advocates.
The Supreme Court verdict’s was opposed by the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of India.
Criticism on the SC verdict against Bhushan has been done by Bodies like Bar Association of India, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR).