To endorse the statement by lawyers demanding justice to Prashant Bhushan.
Recently two tweets by Prashant Bhushan criticizing present and previous CJIs has taken to court as contempt of court. Supreme Court took this case in an emergency and made a controversial stand by convicting him.
"Justice is not a cloistered virtue... She must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken comments of ordinary men.”
From the perspective of often used words by Lord Atkin, Prashant Bhushan's tweets can not be considered as a contempt of court, but as a honest attempt to criticize.
We should see these attempts by Supreme Court will create a vague of space where one can get contempt of court for criticizing it. This attempt to go against Prashanth Bhushan should be considered as an attack on freedom of speech and should not let it pass by.
In these hard times when people's right's are constantly undermined, we need to stand together against such attempts. I believe we can endorse the statement released by lawyers. The full statement released is given below.
We, the below named, practicing members of the bar in India, have noted with dismay, the judgment of the Supreme Court, in Mr. Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case. An independent judiciary consisting of independent judges and lawyers, is the basis of the rule of law in a Constitutional democracy. Mutual respect and the absence of coercion, are the hallmarks of a harmonious relationship between the bar and bench. Any tilting of the balance, one way or the other, is deleterious both to the institution and the nation.
An independent judiciary does not mean that judges are immune from scrutiny and comment. It is the duty of lawyers to freely bring any shortcomings to the notice of bar, bench and the public at large. While some of us may have divergent views on the advisability and content of Mr. Prashant Bhushan’s two tweets, we are unanimously of the view that no contempt of court was intended or committed especially when contrasted with the normal standard that “Justice is not a cloistered virtue... She must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken comments of ordinary men.”
While Mr. Prashant Bhushan as a lawyer of good standing of the Supreme Court, may not be an ordinary man, his tweets do not say anything out of the ordinary, other than what is routinely expressed about the court’s working in recent years by many on public fora and on social media. Even some retired judges of the Supreme Court have expressed somewhat similar views.
This judgment does not restore the authority of the court in the eyes of the public. Rather, it will discourage lawyers from being outspoken. From the days of the supersession of judges and the events thereafter, it has been the Bar that has been the first to stand in defence of the independence of the judiciary. A bar silenced under the threat of contempt, will undermine the independence and ultimately the strength of the Court. A silenced bar, cannot lead to a strong court.
We also express a deep sense of disappointment about the Supreme Court’s utter disregard of the presence of the Learned Attorney General, a highly respected Lawyer of great eminence, and its refusal to seek his valuable opinion in the matter, which is mandated even as per contempt law.
We are of the firm view that the judgment must not be given effect to, until a larger bench, sitting in open court after the pandemic has the opportunity to review the standards of criminal contempt. We do believe that the Supreme Court will hear the Voice of the People expressed all around in last 72 hours on the subject and take corrective steps to prevent miscarriage of Justice and restore the confidence and respect that Citizens have generally reposed in it.
Poll Created Tue 18 Aug 2020 7:49PM
Can we endorse above statement? Closed Fri 21 Aug 2020 8:00PM
The endorsement is approved and forwarded to update it in the website. https://gitlab.com/piratemovin/piratesite/-/issues/16
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4 of 173 people have participated (2%)