Over 1500 Lawyers have condemned the conviction of advocate Prashant Bhushan by the Supreme Court over his two tweets against the respective judiciary. The Supreme Court has announced this verdict against Prashant Bhushan on August 10, 2020. Several senior lawyers Common Human Rights Initiative of India have come out together to criticize the Supreme Court’s conviction against Prashant Bhushan. All have issued separate statements for the support of Prashant Bhushan asking the Supreme Court to “take corrective steps to prevent a miscarriage of Justice.”
CHRI has criticized the court’s decision on Prashant Bhushan Case
CHRI has criticized the court’s decision, further, it adds that by passing these kinds of verdicts for a lawyer’s statement, even it was against the judiciary, Supreme Court has sent a chilling message about the cost of criticism.
CHRI further added “Public’s confidence is not secured by the courts’ using the law of contempt against a person and that too during the period of the pandemic, when the functioning of the court is anyway restricted. Instead, it is secured by using the law in a proper way that ensures the safety of people’s rights. Coming to any verdict like this is highly concerning for the public at this when other matters are not heard. Court’s holding Prahdant Bhushant guilty for exercising his human rights of freedom of expression may loss the confidence of a common man in the judiciary.”
Various lawyers across the country have said a bar in a statement “silenced under the threat of contempt” will “undermine the independence and ultimately the strength” of the Supreme Court.
Some of the members, who have issued the statement signing over it, are Biswajit Bhattacharya, Janak Dwarkadas, Sriram Panchu, Navroz Seervai, Raju Ramachandran, Arvind Datar, Menaka Guru-Swamy, Iqbal Chagla, Vrinda Grover, Kamini Jaiswal, Darius Khambata, Karuna Nundy, and Vrinda Grover. The statement said “This judgment does not safeguard the authority of the judiciary in the eyes of the people. Rather, it will demoralize lawyers from being expressive. From the days of the suppression of judges and the time and events thereafter, Lawyers had been the strong bar that first stood for the liberty of judiciary….A silenced bar cannot lead to a strong court.”
A bench of three Justices B R Gavai, Arun Mishra, and Krishna Murari has announced the verdict on August 14, in which they found Prashant Bhushan guilty of his two tweets against the court. Words like “destabilizing the very foundation of the judiciary”, “scurrilous/malicious …attacks” were mentioned. The other round for the quantum of punishment for Prashant Bhushan will be held on 20th August.
The statement has further said that “an independent judiciary does not anyway ensure that judiciary is free from any comment or scrutiny. It is the responsibility of the lawyers to put forth any shortcoming before the notice bar, public, and respective bench.” Moreover, Whether Prashant Bhushan is not an ordinary man but his tweets do not bring out anything ordinary. Judiciary has been in the eyes of the people, on social media and many retired judges have brought out somewhat same views, said the statement.
The statement has urged the court to postpone the Judgment in this pandemic and hold an open hearing after the dicing weather ends, by a huge bench to “review the standards of criminal contempt.”