Legal and civil society luminaries issue statement on judgment against Prashant Bhushan

www.thehindu.com
6 min read
fairly difficult
Several legal and civil society luminaries have issued a statement against the judgment against Prashant Bhushan in a contempt of court matter. Here is the full text of the statement and full list of
Several legal and civil society luminaries have issued a statement against the judgment against Prashant Bhushan in a contempt of court matter.

Here is the full text of the statement and full list of signatories:

Statement relating to the judgment against Prashant Bhushan in the contempt of court matter August 17, 2020

We, the undersigned citizens of the country, express anguish and disappointment at the verdict of the Hon'ble Supreme Court finding human rights activist and advocate, Prashant Bhushan, guilty of contempt of court in respect of two tweets. We reiterate our solidarity and support for Prashant Bhushan at this conviction, which we believe is not appropriate.

The tweets were a bona fide expression of concern regarding the functioning of the Supreme Court, which is the fundamental right of every citizen. The intention of that expression was to urge the apex court to restart physical hearings, particularly of matters of national importance. The intention was also to engage with the concerns articulated by many regarding the reluctance of the judiciary to play its constitutionally mandated role as a check on governmental excesses and violations of fundamental rights by the state.

Such criticism, however fiercely expressed, is in fact a plea to the system to engage with these public concerns. Bona fide criticism, especially by a senior member of the bar, must be taken in the spirit in which it is made – to introspect and thereby strengthen the institution of the judiciary. To hold that such criticism shakes the foundations of the judiciary and needs to be dealt with an iron hand, appears to be a disproportionate response which could, in fact, diminish the reputation of the Court . If a tweet by an individual is perceived by the judiciary as destroying public confidence in the institution, it speaks poorly of the judiciary's confidence in itself. As former Chief Justice Bharucha has said, the court should have broad shoulders to ignore such criticism…
The Hindu
Read full article