Legal Professionals call for a review of the ‘iron hand’ by the Constitutional Court of India

Lawyers, academicians and legal policy experts have written a letter to Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to register their protest against the criminal contempt cases being taken up against Advocate Prashant Bhushan.

In context of the suo moto contempt proceedings initiated by the Apex Court into the tweets by Bhushan. It notes that Bhushan’s request for more time to file a detailed affidavit to defend himself was rejected by the court. A criminal petition filed against Bhushan by a private citizen, Mr Mahek Maheshwari, was also listed with the suo moto proceedings. The letter points out that this case was listed without the Attorney General’s (AG) consent. Moreover, even though a notice was issued to the AG, his oral views were not sought by the court.

An eleven year old contempt case against Prashant Bhushan was taken out of cold storage and hurriedly listed by the court for a hearing. The signatories express their dismayal on how the court refused to defer the hearing till physical hearings resumed considering virtual hearings are not conducive with voluminous court records. They question the cherry picking of cases during a pandemic during COVID-19. A fair trial is a constitutional rights and denying a physical trial in a case that requires is denial of the constitutional right, as per the letter. It calls for a review of the ‘iron hand’ by the Constitutional Court of India.

The signatories urge SCBA President, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave,  to take up the issue and ensure a proper hearing. It requests public access through the sharing of the link of the hearing in interest of open court hearings. Signatories include legal academic Dr G Mohan Gopal, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate R Vaigai, Advocate Nandita Rao, Advocate Anubha Rastogi, and Namita Wahi, Fellow at Centre for Policy Research.


Read the letter below: