With two contempt cases against Advocate Prashant Bhushan due to be heard in the Supreme Court between August 4 and August 5, over a hundred well-known members of the civil society have appealed the top court in a statement expressing solidarity with Bhushan.
The most recent contempt case pertains to Bhushan's tweet criticising the Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, after a picture of the latter astride a limited-edition Harley Davidson motorbike emerged on social media. The tweet was later 'witheld' by Twitter India. The older case deals with the senior lawyer's statement from eleven years ago when he had told Tehelka that half of the 16 CJIs had been corrupt.
The statement read, "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."
It further added, "The initiation of contempt proceedings against Mr. Bhushan who had articulated some of these concerns in his tweets, appears to be an attempt at stifling such criticism, not just by Prashant Bhushan but by all stakeholders in the Indian democratic and constitutional setup. We believe the institution must address these genuine concerns."
Signatories on the statement included Swaraj India President, Yogendra Yadav, former Delhi High Court judge Justice A.P. Shah, author Arundhati Roy, historian Ramachandra Guha, activist Harsh Mander, and former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur, among many others.
Read the complete statement here: