Prashant Bhushan
Image Source: HW English

Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer-activist has been held guilty of resentment of his social media statements criticizing the Supreme court and SA Bobde, the Chief Justice of India. He has been fined of Rs 1 by the apex court. The court has initiated if the fine is not paid by September 15, he can be jailed for three months and a ban of three years on practicing law will be imposed.

Supreme Court in its verdict while handing down the sentence said freedom of speech can not be halted. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan however told the reporters that he would assess the verdict and further will decide whether to pay the fine or consider other options.

The Supreme Court which had earlier asked Prashant Bhushan for an unconditional apology said we provided several opportunities and incumbent to Prashant Bhushan to confess apology. But he not only lent wide propaganda but also bestowed various interviews to news channels.

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The Supreme Court was seemingly on Prashant Bhushan’s proclamation refusing to take back his comments and further apologize. Mr. Bhushan further said in a statement that upright criticism was essential to protect the Indian democracy and its values.

Mr. Prashant has however already conveyed his apology in another resentment case involving his statement in an interview that over half the 16 Chief Justices of the nation were corrupt. The term corrupt was used in the context of deprivation of propriety and not monetary corruption. The SC has said that it wants to examine whether the corruption charges can be imposed against the retired and present judges and the process to deal with it.

Over 100 Students Urged SC To Reconsider Prashant Bushan Contempt

Earlier more than a hundred students from around the nation have written an open letter to Sharad Arvind Bobde, the Chief Justice of India asking him to reconsider the verdict by 3 tier judge bench in the Prashant Bhushan resentment case.

They have said that fair criticism is an ingredient of the right to speech and the Justice ought not to take offense of it but rather respond to it by restoring the faith and changing its course.

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They wrote that the tribunal ought to respond for criticism by the rehabilitation of public dignity. The judiciary ought not to indict for resentment when objection arises out of love and anguish for justice, from an individual helping in the profundity of the same justice he requests for others.

Conveying firm objection on the contempt decision the students emphasized that to criticize the justice albeit fiercely, fairly, is certainly not a crime but an essential right, furnished by democracy.

Recollecting the supreme court’s statements in Retired S. Mulgaokar that the supreme justice should not be temperamental even when criticisms and distortions violate the thresholds.

The apex court seems to have vulnerable albeit wide shoulder for online social media statements. It feels scandalized for being fiercely denounced by the one whose foremost objective is for judicial reforms.

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