SC administration seeks rationalization from officers for ‘wrongly’ itemizing N Ram’s PIL earlier than Justice Chandrachud

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8

The Supreme Court administration has sought a proof from its Registry officers for ‘wrongly’ itemizing a petition filed by famous journalists N Ram and Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan earlier than a Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud ignoring the truth that comparable contempt issues have been already pending earlier than a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.

The officers involved have been requested to elucidate their conduct for flouting related guidelines, sources stated.

Justice Mishra’s Bench has already reserved its orders on two instances of legal contempt towards Bhushan.

The PIL filed by Ram, Shourie and Bhushan difficult the Constitutional validity of ‘criminal contempt’ underneath Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, is listed earlier than Justice Chandrachud subsequent week.

Bhushan is a celebration to all three instances.

The trio, on August 1, had moved the Supreme Court difficult the constitutional validity of ‘criminal contempt’ with regard to scandalising the Judiciary, contending it had a “chilling effect” on free speech.

They challenged Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, that defines ‘criminal contempt’ as publication of something — whether or not by phrases, spoken or written, or by indicators, or by seen illustration, or in any other case of any matter or the doing of some other act by any means — which scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to decrease the authority of, any courtroom.

Section 2(c)(I) was a manifestly arbitrary and a imprecise provision of the legislation which violated the Right to Equality and the Right to Free Speech assured underneath the Constitution, they contended within the petition filed on Friday

“The broad and ambiguous wording of the sub-section violates Article 14 by leaving the offence open to differing and inconsistent applications. This uncertainty in the manner in which the law applies renders it manifestly arbitrary and violates the right to equal treatment,” they submitted.

Terming it as unconstitutional, the trio argued that “It is incompatible with preambular values and primary options of the Constitution, it violates Article 19(1)(a), is unconstitutionally and incurably imprecise and is manifestly arbitrary.

“The offence of ‘scandalising the court’ is rooted in colonial assumptions and objects, which have no place in legal orders committed to democratic constitutionalism and the maintenance of an open robust public sphere,” the petition learn.

The Supreme Court had, on July 22, issued notices to Bhushan and Twitter Inc for his tweets allegedly scandalising the Judiciary by way of his tweets. Two days later, it resumed listening to in one other legal contempt case towards him pending since 2009. It has now reserved its orders in each instances.

Bhushan expressed remorse however refused to tender an apology.

Earlier, a gaggle of 131 former judges, ex-bureaucrats and activists have come out in his assist, terming it as an try at stifling criticism.

The group — which included former Supreme Court decide Madan B Lokur, former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah and a number of other retired bureaucrats and lecturers — appealed to the highest courtroom to drop the legal contempt proceedings towards Bhushan.

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