Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who’s going through legal contempt proceedings within the Supreme Court over two tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, regrets solely a “part of” what he mentioned in his affidavit to the court docket and says criticism of the highest choose “does not scandalize” the court docket or decrease its authority.
Prashant Bhushan additionally says to counsel that “the Chief Justice is the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court is the Chief Justice” is to undermine the establishment of the Supreme Court of India.
The lawyer-activist is going through contempt for his feedback on visuals of Chief Justice Bobde on a motorbike. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra issued a contempt discover suo motu following a petition.
Mr Bhushan mentioned he regretted asking why Justice Bobde was not sporting a helmet, because the bike was on a stand.
“At the outset I admit that I did not notice that the bike was on a stand and therefore wearing a helmet was not required. I therefore regret that part of my tweet. However, I stand by the remaining part of what I have stated in my tweet. I tweeted the above because I was increasingly anguished by the lack of regular physical functioning of the court that was leading to the hearing of very few matters and that too by the unsatisfactory mode of video conferencing,” he mentioned within the affidavit submitted on Sunday.
“Due to the COVID pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and the humanitarian crisis it had created, with the Supreme Court not functioning regularly, access to justice was seriously imperiled,” alleged Mr Bhushan.
The affidavit mentioned the tweet about final 4 Chief Justices of India was his “bonafide impression” about them and it’s his thought-about opinion that “Supreme Court allowed the destruction of democracy”. Such expression of opinion, nonetheless “outspoken, disagreeable or unpalatable”, cannot represent contempt, he mentioned.
“To bona fide critique the actions of a Chief Justice or a succession of Chief Justices cannot and does not scandalise the court, nor does it lower the authority of the court,” the affidavit mentioned.
“What I have tweeted is thus my bonafide impression about the manner and functioning of the Supreme court in the past years and especially about the role of the last four Chief Justices have played vis a vis their role in being a check and balance on the powers of the executive, their role in ensuring that the supreme court functions in a transparent and accountable manner and was constrained to say that they, contributed to undermining democracy,” the affidavit mentioned.
“Freedom of expression and the concomitant right to criticise includes a fair and robust criticism of the judiciary. This cannot amount to contempt of court or lowering the dignity of the court in any manner,” it added.
(with inputs from ANI)