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103 dignitaries condemn statements against SC verdict in Bhushan case

Author: IANS
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 19, 2020
URL:   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/103-dignitaries-condemn-statements-against-sc-verdict-in-bhushan-case/articleshow/77633163.cms

After the Supreme Court held advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt for making derogatory remarks against the judiciary via two tweets, a group of 103 prominent citizens, including former High Court judges, retired senior police officers, retired IAS and IFS officers, and army officers have condemned the statements by pressure groups criticizing the apex court verdict.
The group criticized the statement issued by 'Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms', (CJAR) on August 15, condemning the judgment and further calling upon the Supreme Court, and every judge, to reconsider their decision.

"The statements issued by the CJAR and a few other pressure groups condemning the judgment of the Supreme Court and criticising the process of judgment delivery are highly objectionable and unacceptable. We, the concerned citizens, unequivocally oppose such pseudo activism hidden in the garb of the civil society", the statement reads. The apex court is yet to decide on the quantum of punishment, and the hearing on the sentence is scheduled on August 20.

The dignitaries said for a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, contempt of the court is something which cannot be justified by any pressure group. "The legal profession is a solemn and serious occupation, with constitutional, professional and ethical obligations. Any violation of the principles of professional ethics by an advocate is unfortunate and unacceptable", read the statement.

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PRINCIPLED STAND OF THE CONCERNED CITIZENS REGARDING THE STATEMENTS RELEASED BY CERTAIN PARTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE JUDGMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA IN THE CASE OF SUO MOTU CONTEMPT PETITION (CRL.) NO.1 OF 2020 IN RE: PRASHANT BHUSHAN AND ANR.

The Supreme Court in the aforementioned case has pronounced a judgment dated 14.08.2020 holding the alleged contemnors, including Shri Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate, guilty of contempt of the Court.

In response to such judgment of the Supreme Court, multiple negatively oriented articles have been published, alleging that the Supreme Court is muzzling criticism of the process of justice delivery system in a democratic country. A statement dated 15.8.2020 has also been issued by one 'Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms', (CJAR), condemning the judgment and further calling upon the Supreme Court, and every Judge, to reconsider their decision.

We, the concerned citizens of the country, are deeply concerned by such statements by a group of persons who wrongly claim themselves to solely represent the civil society, and use every opportunity to strike at the roots of Indian democratic institutions such as the Parliament, Election Commission of India, and now, the Supreme Court of India.

We had, in this regard, submitted a petition to the Hon'ble President of India on the 30th of July, 2020. Stray groups with hidden political agendas, claiming to be the sole custodians of Constitution and Democracy, cannot be allowed to denigrate the democratic institutions, in particular the Supreme Court of India.

This is not the first time that Mr. Prashant Bhushan has objectionally criticized the Courts without any basis or evidence. This is also not the first occasion when he has made utterances which were inflammatory in nature. CJAR, counts, amongst its committee, Shri Prashant Bhushan himself, apart from a few others such as Ms. Arundhati Roy etc; which shows that they are working on an agenda to plead their own cause extra-judicially.

For a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, contempt of the Court is something which cannot be justified by any pressure group. The legal profession is a solemn and serious occupation, with Constitutional, professional and ethical obligations. Any violation of the principles of professional ethics by an advocate is unfortunate and unacceptable.

As Lord Denning in the case of Morris Vs. Crown Office reported in (1970) 2 QB 114 corresponding to (1970) 2 WBLR 792 said, the course of justice must not be deflected or interfered with. Those who strike at it strikes at the very foundations of our society."

The statements issued by CJAR and a few other pressure groups condemning the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and criticising the process of judgment delivery is highly objectionable and unacceptable. We, the concerned citizens, unequivocally oppose such pseudo activism hidden in the garb of the Civil Society.

List of Signatories

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The group said that this is not the first time Bhushan has objectionably criticized the courts without any basis or evidence. "This is also not the first occasion when he has made utterances which were inflammatory in nature. CJAR, counts, amongst its committee, Prashant Bhushan himself, apart from a few others, such as Arundhati Roy, etc., which shows that they are working on an agenda to plead their own cause extra --judicially", said the statement.


The group cited Lord Denning, in the case of Morris Vs. Crown Office reported in (1970) 2 QB 114 corresponding to (1970) 2 WBLR 792, "The course of justice must not be deflected or interfered with. Those who strike at it strikes at the very foundations of our society."

"We, the concerned citizens of the country, are deeply concerned by such statements by a group of persons who wrongly claim themselves to solely represent the civil society, and use every opportunity to strike at the roots of the Indian democratic institutions such as the Parliament, Election Commission of India, and now, the Supreme Court of India", read the statement.

The signatories include: Justice K. R.Vyas, former Chief Justice Mumbai High Court, Amar Sinha, former Foreign Secretary, Sarvesh Kaushal, former Chief Secretary Punjab, among several others.

 
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