By imposing a wonderful of merely Re 1 on activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan for contempt of courtroom, the Supreme Court has proven magnanimity behoving its dignity as an establishment charged with the obligation to dispense justice. Bhushan’s announcement that he would respectfully pay the wonderful has ended the potential of the lawyer being despatched to jail for 3 months and getting debarred from practising earlier than the Supreme Court for 3 years. But he intends to hunt evaluation of the decision. While the controversy seems to have ended for now, the bigger difficulty of residents’ proper to topic the judiciary to scrutiny and criticism in a democracy stays unaddressed.
From the outset, the courtroom wished to present quietus to the controversy by trying to steer the lawyer to tender an apology and ‘save the grace of the institution as well as the individual’, whilst Bhushan maintained that an insincere apology would quantity to ‘contempt of my conscience and of an institution that I hold in highest esteem.’ But the actual fact stays that the offence of ‘scandalising’ the judiciary is obscure and incapable of being certified as a legal legislation provision. Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act doesn’t outline the expression in query.
Right to free speech and proper to dissent are extremely valued rights important to make a democracy survive and thrive. That’s why a number of nations, together with the UK, have completed away with this archaic provision of the contempt legislation. While one would agree with the courtroom that residents’ religion within the establishment of justice is the inspiration for the rule of legislation important for the functioning of a democratic society, the issue is not only in regards to the definition. It’s additionally about violation of ideas of pure justice as judges being the aggrieved events — both as people or as members of the establishment — hear the matter themselves and there’s no provision for enchantment in case it’s contempt of the Supreme Court. One expects the apex courtroom to have a relook on the downside areas of the contempt legislation when it takes up the evaluation petition to be filed by Bhushan.