N Ram, Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan withdraw PIL difficult validity of  ‘legal contempt’

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13

Senior journalist N Ram, former union minister Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Thursday withdrew from the Supreme Court their PIL difficult the constitutional validity of ‘legal contempt’, with regard to scandalising the judiciary.

When the PIL got here up for listening to earlier than a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan identified on behalf of the petitioners that that they had already written to the SC secretary common on this regard.

Dhavan stated the petitioners wished to withdraw the petition with depart to file it once more earlier than an alternate discussion board.

The Bench allowed the withdrawal of the petition with liberty to file it earlier than a excessive courtroom however not within the Supreme Court. 

The trio had moved the Supreme Court on July 31 difficult the constitutional validity of ‘legal contempt’, concerning scandalising the judiciary, contending it had a “chilling effect” on free speech.

The PIL was initially listed earlier than a Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud however the SC Registry sought a proof from its officers for the ‘wrongful’ itemizing. Then it obtained listed earlier than Justice Mishra’s Bench which is seized of two legal contempt circumstances in opposition to Bhushan.

The petitioners had challenged Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, that defines ‘legal 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 another act in any respect – 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 imprecise provision of legislation which violated proper to equality and proper to free speech assured underneath the Constitution, that they had contended.

“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,” that they had submitted.

Terming it as unconstitutional, that they had argued, “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 courtroom” 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.


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