Can a commoner allege political bias by sitting SC judge and escape contempt ire? | India News


Immediately after retiring from the Supreme Courtroom, Justice Kurian Joseph described why he went with a few senior SC judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan B Lokur — to address an unparalleled push meeting on January 12. He stated all 4 shared a notion that then CJI Dipak Misra was becoming motivated by a person from outdoors and was allotting delicate scenarios to benches headed by choose junior SC judges perceived to have a political bias.

Coming from a seasoned judge like Justice Joseph, the expenses had been really serious. He was imputing motives to two groups of judges — one, that CJI Misra was currently being motivated from outside the house two, that some sitting down SC judges harboured political bias even though working with scenarios.

Can a commoner litigant, following his case gets dismissed, make comparable allegations in public against the choose who decided his situation and not get hauled up for contempt of courtroom? Can a commoner dare make these kinds of notion-centered allegations versus sitting down SC judges? Each and every working day, a thousand perceptions run wild in the SC corridors. Attorneys discuss judges, their information, demeanour, perform,s judicial acumen and courtroom conduct. Howsoever robust their perception, no a single dares to go public with their views on judges, for they know how choppy the contempt waters are.

Interestingly, a PIL has been filed in the SC searching for an inquiry into Justice Joseph’s assertion about external impact on then CJI Misra. When it was described for urgent hearing, CJI Ranjan Gogoi questioned what the urgency for early listing was? The petitioner claimed “credibility of the establishment is at stake”.

CJI Gogoi declined early hearing and stated, “Credibility of an establishment is greatest maintained by people who man it and not by newspaper reviews.” It sounded identical to what Lord Dennings had claimed in R vs Commissioner of Police [1968 (2) QB 150].

Declining to initiate contempt proceedings against Quintin Hogg for his post in ‘Punch’, Lord Dennings experienced mentioned, “Let me say at the moment that we will in no way use this jurisdiction to uphold our very own dignity. That will have to relaxation on surer foundations. Nor will we use it to suppress all those who communicate against us. We do not worry criticism, nor do we resent it. For there is something significantly additional significant at stake. It is no significantly less than flexibility of speech itself… All that we inquire is all those who criticise us need to don’t forget that, from the mother nature of our obligations, we are unable to reply to their criticism. We cannot enter into general public controversy. We will have to count on our perform alone to be its own vindication.”

Lord Dennings’s tactic stood the examination of time in the well known ‘SpyCatcher’ case in 1987. Britain experienced banned publication of the e book ‘SpyCatcher’ in the United kingdom as a previous MI5 agent Peter Wright narrated his experience in determining a Soviet mole in MI5. Guardian newspaper got permission from United kingdom Significant Court docket for reportage on ‘SpyCatcher’. But, the Household of Lords, the predecessor of the United kingdom Supreme Court, reversed the HC judgment [Attorney General vs Guardian newspaper 1987 (3) AER 316].

Up coming working day, the ‘Daily Mirror’ newspaper ran a entrance webpage headline screaming ‘YOU FOOLS’ and accompanied it with upside down photos of 3 legislation lords in wigs, who made the decision the situation towards reportage on ‘SpyCatcher’. No contempt was initiated. ‘The Economist’, which ran a blank web page with a caption ‘law is an ass’, as well was not frequented with adverse consequences.

If Justice Joseph’s assertion about ‘external influence’ on CJI Misra was primarily based on perception and shared by the other a few SC judges on January 12, similar was the scenario with Chandan Mitra, who as government editor of Hindustan Occasions, wrote an write-up in September 1995 that “some Supreme Courtroom judges necessary psychiatric counselling”, reacting to the SC censuring Punjab Law enforcement in a well-known situation.

Not like the Each day Mirror, Mitra was hauled up for contempt and in open court, then CJI J S Verma instructed him in 1996 that it was Mitra who needed psychiatric remedy, not the judges. Spooked by contempt powers, Mitra apologised profusely and revealed a entrance web site apology to escape unharmed.

CPM chief M V Jayarajan was not as lucky as Hogg, Every day Mirror or even Mitra. The former Kannur MLA in November 2011 criticised Kerala HC judges for banning highway meetings, and in his exuberance termed the judges ‘sumbhan’, which roughly implies ‘idiot’ in Malayalam.

The HC judges could not belly the criticism and convicted him for contempt of courtroom and punished him with six months imprisonment. On January 30, 2015, an SC bench headed by Justice Vikramjit Sen upheld the HC verdict, but was kind ample to lessen Jayarajan’s punishment to 4 months in jail.

On November 9, 1967, then Kerala chief minister EMS Namboodiripad in a push conference explained the judiciary as “an instrument of oppression” and was hauled up for contempt of courtroom. A bench headed by then CJI M Hidayatullah convicted him of contempt, but fined him Rs 50 [1970 AIR 2015].



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