A petition has been filed by an Advocate before SC seeking a declaration that there shall be no Freedom of Speech and Expression vis-a-vis pending matters, final judgments of Court, except to the extent of fair and true reporting.
The PIL draws attention to a recent incident where Congress leader and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram took to social media to express his thoughts and opinions on the case concerning the Rajasthan political crisis which was being heard by the Rajasthan High Court.
When the Rajasthan High Court requested the Speaker of Rajasthan Assembly not to proceed with the show cause notices issued by him to the 19 rebel MLAs and the Supreme Court declined to stay this order of the High Court, Chidambaram took to Twitter to express his thoughts.
Chidambaram’s tweets highlighted a 1992 judgment of the Supreme Court in which it was held that the Tenth Schedule stipulates that disqualification petitions will not be subject to judicial review at any stage prior to the final decision of the Speaker.
It stated that it is an objection to lawyers, particularly some Senior Advocates, who “consume Court’s precious time”and then express their displeasure with the outcome of court proceedings in the public domain due to freedom of speech and expression.
However, the petitioner avers that these “apparently innocuous” tweets made by Chidambaram impute motives on the judges. The petitioner while highlighting freedom of speech and expression said,
“The courts grant us, Advocates, extra leeway and liberty to freely speak our minds because we are men of law. But being a lawman – and not a layman – is a great responsibility. We have a duty towards society. We cannot go on cutting roots of the very system that nourishes us and misuse our liberty for our selfish ends.”
The petitioner, Dr. Subhash Vijayran, therefore asked,
“Till what time is this Hon’ble Court going to tolerate this unhealthy practice of maligning the courts and its Judges by the disgruntled and those with ulterior motives?”
The petition prayed that the Court declare that there is no freedom of speech and expression as regards pending matters and final orders and judgments passed except to the extent of fair and accurate reporting of proceedings before the Court “in a manner that does not directly or indirectly impute motives/ bias to the judges/court.”