Dignitaries urge SC to reconsider decision to start contempt proceedings against Bhushan

NEW DELHI: Over 130 dignitaries, including former apex court judge Justice M B Lokur and renowned writer Arundhati Roy, urged the Supreme Court on Monday to “reconsider” and “withdraw” its decision to “initiate suo-motu contempt proceedings” against activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
The top court had on July 22 issued show cause notice to Bhushan on the contempt proceedings initiated against him for his two allegedly derogatory tweets against the judiciary. It had also sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in the case.
Former judges, retired senior government officials, politicians, former ambassadors and activists have issued a statement
expressed solidarity with the activist-lawyer, saying that initiation of contempt proceedings against Bhushan who had articulated some…concerns in his tweets, appears to be an attempt at stifling such criticism.
“In the interest of justice and fairness and to maintain the dignity of the Supreme Court of India, we urge the Court to reconsider its decision to initiate suo-motu contempt proceedings against Prashant Bhushan and to withdraw the same at the earliest,” the statement said.
Besides Justice Lokur and Roy, the statement has been signed by the likes of former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ramdas, CPI general secretary, D Raja, social activist Harsh Mander and journalist P Sainath.
It said that Bhushan has been a relentless crusader for the rights of the weakest sections of our society and has spent his career in pro bono legal service to those who do not have ready access to justice”.
In the past few years, serious questions have been raised about the reluctance of the Supreme Court to play its constitutionally mandated role as a check on governmental excesses and violations of fundamental rights of people by the state. These questions have been raised by all sections of society- media, academics, civil society organisations, members of the legal fraternity and even by sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court itself, the statement said.
It said that most recently, the apex court’s reluctance to intervene in a timely manner to avert the migrant crisis during the lockdown came under intense public scrutiny.

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