The independent judiciary is a fundamental feature of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution makers had put in place a number of safeguards to maintain its independence.
It is accompanied by three major pillars of the legislature and the executive constitutional system. Recently, the contempt of court against senior advocate Prashant Bhushan was found to be true.
The apex court said that Bhushan's remarks were not merely an attack on one or two judges, but an attack on the functioning of the Supreme Court for the last six years. The court said,
"If such attacks are not dealt with vigorously, the national fraternity and dignity in the world fraternity may be affected. The public's trust in the judiciary will also below.”
After the decision, Bhushan's supporters are making all the comments. CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury termed the verdict as obstructing independent debate on the functioning of the Supreme Court. Some commentators are calling the contempt law futile, and many are also in favor of the decision. There has been a lot of debate.
"Disagreements and dissenting opinions are part of democracy." This is certainly true, but it is a legal right of the court to declare a comment contemptible after a judicial hearing, which no party has given. The king has demanded a revision of the contempt law.
They should use the platform of the legislature for this. Trinamool Congress MP Moitra has also made similar remarks. Such rhetoric is like political allegations. The result will not be good.
If the trend of political rhetoric on judicial decisions increases, the tradition of criticizing the decisions of all the courts, big and small, will expand. People will also criticize the judges. Then what will happen to the legal system of the country? In such a situation, will the judges be able to fulfill their duties in a calm and relaxed mood?
This is the beginning of the wrong tradition. Parties should not do the work that is destroying the dignity of the judicial institution. Double standards on freedom of expression are not appropriate.
Those who criticize the contempt action are making a big mistake. In 2017, Bhushan himself justified such action against CS Kannan, a High Court judge. Kannan also commented on the judges of the Supreme Court.
Democracy and constitution rule only because of the trust of the people of India towards the supreme bench, judiciary and all constitutional institutions. It is also the responsibility of the judiciary to maintain this trust. Critics too.
They should also pay attention to the facts of the hearing. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave argued, "Bhushan's tweets were not against the judiciary. He was about personal conduct under the competence of judges. "Praising Bhushan, Dave said, "He has made a major contribution to the development of jurisprudence. The court has also appreciated his contribution in matters like 2-G, coal mine allocation.”
The court itself described him as a partner of the judicial process and said that his tweets were even more serious.
Arguments for the fundamental right to freedom of expression are being made in the Bhushan case. Of course it is the foundation of democracy, but the framers of the Constitution did not make it infinite. Article 19 (1) A8 has the right to freedom of speech and expression, but in clause-2 its restraint is that the sovereignty, integrity, security of the state, foreign relations of India on the exercise of the right conferred on clause 1 above.
Public order, will not prevent legal action or new law on court contempt and crime induction. The fundamental question is whether even the objectionable remarks of P. Naveen of Bengaluru can be considered as freedom of thought expression?
Similarly, will the announcement of the beheading of Naveen by the alleged social worker of Meerut, Shahzeb Rizvi, also be called an expression of thought?
Thought is also the limit of expression. Bhushan is a jurist. He must have discussed his tweet after the contempt notice. Even then, he was not in a mood to back down, but his advocates are making comments against the decision of the Supreme Bench. Those making such comments are introducing the double standard.
Constitutional democracy is governed by institutions. Outstanding functioning of institutions increases public confidence. The political executive is criticized. It should be so.
The legislature is also criticized. In this, Parliament or Legislature are sometimes called nonsense. The legislature also has powers to hear contempt. Criticism of the judiciary requires serious restraint and decorum. No system is ideal. There is scope for improvement in that.
The executive is accountable to the legislature. Members of the legislature are responsible to the public, but the judiciary failed to develop any system of accountability within itself.
There is no mobility in a system without accountability. Still, attacks on constitutional institutions reduce public confidence in democracy. The public also starts to look at these institutions with suspicion.
The atmosphere of unreliability towards institutions is unfair. Advocates of Bhushan are doing the same. The consequences of judicial proceedings are not always our choice. It is best to justify the decision or go to appeal.