The right to approach Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India is itself a fundamental right.
Assistant Secretary, Maharashtra Vidhan Mandal Sachivalaya issued this letter to Arnab Goswami, Editor of Republic TV, as follows :
“You were informed that the proceedings of the House are confidential………….despite this, it has been observed that you have presented the proceedings of the House before the Supreme Court on October 8, 2020. No prior permission was taken from the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly before presenting such proceedings in court. You have knowingly breached the orders of the Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly and your actions amount to breach of confidentiality. This is definitely a serious matter and amounts to contempt,…….”
Article 32(1) of the Constitution of India reads as under :
“32(1). The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.”
There is no doubt that if a citizen of India is deterred in any case from approaching Supreme Court in exercise of his right under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, it would amount to a serious and direct interference in the administration of justice in the country.
Supreme Court today convicted Prashant Bhushan, the perpetual Public interest litigator for contempt of Court. As per the orders of Supreme Court Prashant Bhushan had tweeted as under:
“CJI rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice!”
(29th June 2020 at 11.37AM)
Another tweet was published in the Times of India which was made by Shri Prashant Bhushan on June 27, 2020, when he tweeted,
“When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how 3democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal Emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the Supreme Court in this destruction, & more particularly the role of the last 4 CJIs.”
Damage Caused by Tweet:
Indian judiciary is not only one of pillars on which the Indian democracy stands but is the central pillar.The Indian Constitutional democracy stands on the bedrock of rule of law. The trust, faith and confidence of 102the citizens of the country in the judicial system is sine qua non for existence of rule of law. An attempt to shake the very foundation of constitutional democracy has to be dealt with an iron hand. The tweet has the effect of destabilising the very foundation of this important pillar of the Indian democracy. The tweet clearly tends to give an impression,that the Supreme Court, which is a highest constitutional court in the country, has in the last six years played a vital role in destruction of the Indian democracy. There is no manner of doubt,that the tweet tends to shake the public confidence in the institution of judiciary. We do not want to go into the truthfulness or otherwise of the first part of the tweet,inasmuch as we do not want to convert this proceeding into a platform for political debate. We are only concerned with the damage that is sought to be done to the institution of administration of justice. In our considered view, the said tweet undermines the dignity and authority of the institution of the Supreme Court of India and the CJI and directly affronts the majesty of law.
Prashant Bhushan, the Supreme Court lawyer who is famous for filing public interest litigation in Supreme Court on almost every matter and who has difficulty in hiding his political distaste for present regime has been issued notice of show cause over his two scandalous tweets.
Offending tweets of Prashant Bhushan:
Twitter has withheld the tweets of Prashant Bhushan but Prashant’s friend Yogendra Yadav has retweeted following screenshots of the offending tweets. This is the screen shot:
The High Court found the contemnor along with 2-3 junior advocates entered the chamber of the CJM and misbehaved as well as attempted to assault him.
An advocate is duty bound to act as per the higher status conferred upon him as an officer of the court. He plays a vital role in preservation of society and justice delivery system. Advocate has no business to threaten a Judge or hurl abuses for judicial order which he has passed. In case of complaint of the Judge, it was open to the advocate to approach concerned higher authorities but there is no licence to any member of the Bar to indulge in 5 such undignified conduct to lower down the dignity of the Court. Such attempts deserve to be nipped at the earliest as there is no room to such attack by a member of noble profession.
The role of a lawyer is indispensable in the justice delivery system. He has to follow the professional ethics and also to maintain high standards. He has to assist the court and also defend the interest of his client. He has to give due regard to his opponent and also to his counsel. What may be proper to others in the society, may be improper for him to do as he belongs to an intellectual class of the society and as a member of the noble profession, the expectations from him are accordingly higher. Advocates are held in high esteem in the society. The dignity of court is in fact dignity of the system of which an advocate being officer of the court. The act of the advocate in the present case is not only improper but requires gross condemnation.
Even if mens rea or guilty mind is not required to punish for contempt of court, the act alleged must be willful before a person is convicted for contempt.
Contempt of court by disobedience:
Contempt of court is the established, if unfortunate, name given to the species of wrongful conduct which consists of interference with the administration of justice. It is an essential adjunct of the rule of law. Interference with the administration of justice can take many forms. In civil proceedings one obvious form is a wilful failure by a party to the proceedings to comply with a court order made against him. By such a breach a party may frustrate, to greater or lesser extent, the purpose the court sought to achieve in making the order against him.
Sometimes the purpose a court seeks to achieve in making an order against a party to proceedings may be deliberately impeded or prejudiced by the conduct of a third party. This may take more than one form. The third party may be assisting, that is, aiding and abetting, a breach of the order by the person against whom the order was made. Then he is an accessory to the breach of the order. Continue reading “Willful Contempt and Mens Rea”→