Many including former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha have condemned the Supreme Court verdict against Lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Justice Lodha asked in a telephonic interview with The Hindu on Friday why the Supreme Court moved quickly to hear the suo motu criminal contempt case against noted civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan via a virtual court hearing amid a pandemic.
“This is a little disturbing for me,” he said.
Bhushan has been held guilty of contempt for his two tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will decide on the sentence on August 20. A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari delivered the verdict.
Historian Ramachandra Guha said that through this act, the Supreme Court has let itself down, and has let the Republic down too.
“A dark day for Indian democracy,” author Guha said.
“The majesty and dignity of the Supreme Court depends only and only on the strength of the faith Indians place in it. Like true love, it cannot be pursued, it must ensue,” Trinamool Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra has launched a scathing attack on the SC over its indictment of Bhushan in a contempt case.
MP further termed the SC’s verdict as a “brute display of power”.
“Remember YOU are the standard for millions of poor who even today say “I will go to Court” – brute display of power does not become you. It shames us all.”
Following the judgement on Friday, Moitra said in a tweet, “To the First Court of our land – If you have the law and truth behind you why is your skin so thin?”
“How are perceived affronts to your power & pelf worthy of such speedy disposal when issues like CAA, 370 & Habeas Corpus petitions perish for months?” she asked.
“Corona could only kill mortal bodies. But the soul of India is killed every other day. Today: The biggest public interest lawyer independent India has seen, is declared guilty for speaking truth to power.On the eve of the 74th Independence Day great gift Supreme Court of India!,” tweeted Vinod K Jose, Editor at The Caravan Magazine.
“This is where the great Indian democracy stands on the eve of its Independence Day. A new low for the country,” author and journalist Rana Ayyub said in a tweet.
A statement in solidarity with Prashant Bhushan, which was released last week with 131 signatories, has been subsequently endorsed by seven more retired Supreme Court judges and another retired high court judge.
The signatories have said that in the interest of justice and fairness and to “maintain the dignity of the Supreme Court”, the top court must reconsider the decision to initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against Bhushan.