Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who’s going through prison contempt proceedings within the Supreme Court, has submitted that the criticism of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) doesn’t scandalise the highest court docket or decrease its authority.
Mr Bhushan made the submission in an affidavit earlier than the Supreme Court on Sunday, during which he additionally stated that to counsel that the CJI is the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court is the CJI is to undermine the establishment of the Supreme Court of India.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had earlier issued a contempt discover to Mr Bhushan in a suo moto case following a petition requesting the identical over two of his tweets.
“To bona fide critique the actions of a CJI, or a succession of CJIs, cannot and does not scandalise the court, nor does it lower the authority of the court. To assume or suggest that ”the CJI is the SC, and the SC is the CJI” is to undermine the establishment of the Supreme Court of India,” the affidavit said.
Mr Bhushan submitted that his tweet about Chief Justice of India riding a motorbike was to underline his anguish at the non-physical functioning of the Supreme Court for last more than three months, with hardly any cases being heard.
The affidavit further said that Mr Bhushan’s tweet about last four Chief Justice of India was his “bonafide impression” about them and it is his considered opinion that “Supreme Court allowed the destruction of democracy” and such expression of opinion, however, “outspoken, unpleasant or unpalatable” can’t constitute contempt.
“What I’ve tweeted is thus my bonafide impression in regards to the method and functioning of the Supreme court docket prior to now years and particularly in regards to the function of the final 4 Chief Justices have performed vis a vis their function in being a test and steadiness on the powers of the manager, their function in guaranteeing that the supreme court docket features in a clear and accountable method and was constrained to say that they, contributed to undermining democracy,” the affidavit said.
“Freedom of expression and the concomitant proper to criticise features a honest and strong criticism of the judiciary. This can not quantity to contempt of court docket or decreasing the dignity of the court docket in any method,” it added.
On his tweet about Chief Justice SA Bobde riding a motorbike last month, Mr Bushan said that fact about the CJI being seen in the presence of many people without a mask was meant to highlight the incongruity of the situation where the CJI keeps the court virtually in lockdown due to COVID fears and on the other hand is seen in public without a mask.
On June 27, Mr Bhushan had in a tweet accused the Supreme Court of playing a part in the “destruction of India”s democracy” within the final six years.