The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned by 15 days, a plea seeking a declaration that there is no freedom of speech and expression vis-à-vis pending matters before courts of law, except to the extent of fair and true reporting.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari heard the petitioner-Dr. Subhash Vijayran who submitted that "Judges are not Politicians & cannot defend themselves against attacks of imputations against them, alleging bias".
The bench, after hearing him, thus asked Vijayran to conduct research on the law on the said issue & posted it for further consideration after 15 days.
Significantly, this is the same bench which held Advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court in the suo motu contempt case taken against him over two of his tweets about the Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court.
The Petitioner has asserted that lately, the Courts have become a "punching bag" for some Advocates who first approach the court and consume its precious time. He states that if they are not satisfied with the outcome, they approach the media and directly/ indirectly impute motives on the Judges.
"Criticizing the judgments on points of law is healthy criticism – a sign of mature democracy – and helps develop the law. But criticizing the court/ judges in a way that either impute motives on the judges or project them as biased, is not healthy. The ill-effect is particularly exponential when a learned Advocate – more so one linked with a political party – does it," the plea states.
The plea is primarily focused on the recent tweets made by senior Advocate and Congress leader, P. Chidambaram, allegedly imputing motives and bias on the judges, with regard to Rajasthan political crisis, pending adjudication before the HC as well as the SC.
The Petitioner states that the "innocuous tweets" impute that the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court hearing the matter are "puppets" of the present Government at the Centre and pass orders that please the Central Government.
Taking exception to such public remarks the plea states,
"If anyone has any grievance, he has the right to move the courts through appropriate proceedings. Ranting out in the media and imputing motives/bias on the judges is neither good for the system nor is the solution to the grievances of the aggrieved."
Such actions, the Petitioner states, bring disrepute to the judiciary, and shake people's confidence in the system.
The petitioner has sought following declarations from Supreme Court;
* Declaring that there is no freedom of speech and expression vis-à-vis pending matters before courts of law, except to the extent of fair and true reporting of court's proceedings in a manner that does not directly or indirectly impute motives/ bias to the judges/court.
* Declaring that there is no freedom of speech and expression vis-à-vis final judgments, orders or decrees of courts of law, except to the extent of fair and true reporting of court's proceedings, and healthy criticism of the law applied by the courts in a manner that does not directly or indirectly impute motives/ bias to the judges/court.