Reconsider Prashant Bhushan contempt verdict, urge 122 students in "emotional" open letter to CJI SA Bobde and Justice Arun Mishra
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Reconsider Prashant Bhushan contempt verdict, urge 122 students in "emotional" open letter to CJI SA Bobde and Justice Arun Mishra

The letter petition by the students states that they "have seen judges accepting whatever the executive states and moving forward with 'laid-back attitude' in serious and sensitive cases."

Debayan Roy

78 law students and 44 students from other streams ranging from engineering to fashion has written an "emotional" open letter to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justice Arun Mishra seeking a reconsideration of the judgment convicting Advocate Prashant Bhushan of contempt of court.

The letter comes just a day before the Justice Arun Mishra led Bench is slated to deliver its judgment as regards sentencing in the suo motu contempt case against Prashant Bhushan.

The students who have called themselves as "vigilant students" have stated that they were "disheartened witnessing the way our Supreme Court reacted on two tweets by Mr. Prashant Bhushan."

“When the history of our benighted times comes to be written, it will be plainly perceived that the Supreme Court of India was the one institution which served the nation most meritoriously in its hour of need. Freedom under the law survives in India only because of the fundamental rights in our Constitution and the outstanding independence of our Courts.”

Reads the letter quoting Nani A. Palkhivala

The letter states that the whole episodes in the matter were disheartening, i.e.

  • First, the recalling of the 2009 contempt case against Bhushan and relisting it suddenly,

  • Second, the deletion of the case regarding the constitutional challenge to the provisions of contempt law from the list of the Court presided by Justice DY Chandrachud, and

  • Third, the suo motu cognizance in the contempt case against Bhushan through a poor petition without sound legal reasoning over two tweets.


"All of these during a pandemic when marginalized and voiceless are awaiting justice in many cases raises our doubts on intention of the judiciary. In our democracy, resides an institution, the Supreme Court of India, praised handsomely," reads the letter.

Stating how an impression is being given that the court could not digest the tweets by Bhushan, the letter states,

"The Supreme Court seems to have weak albeit broad shoulder for social media opinions. It feels scandalized for being fiercely criticized by one of its own whose real motive is for judicial reforms. There is only so much left to say that hasn‟t already been said by the charged person himself but the hope of imploring the Court is still prevalent among some of us."

The letter adds that ,

"... to criticise the judge fairly, albeit fiercely, is no crime but a necessary right, twice blessed in a democracy. The blessing kept in the security of the Apex Court which ensures the freedom of expression as 'a free people are the ultimate guarantors of fearless justice.'"

The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had reserved its judgment on Bhushan's sentencing on August 25 after hearing Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhavan and Attorney General KK Venugopal at length.

Bhushan had filed a supplementary statement reiterating his position to stand by his tweets. He refused to apologize for the tweets for which he was held to be in contempt. When this supplementary statement was considered by the Court, Dhavan had urged the Court not to make Bhushan a martyr by imprisoning him.

The letter by the students further states that,

"... judiciary ought to reply for criticism by the restoration of public confidence. The judiciary ought to reply for criticism by changing its course. The judiciary ought not to charge for contempt when criticism arises out of anguish and love for justice, from a person aiding in profoundness of the same justice he asks for others."

"We have seen judges accepting whatever the executive states and moving forward with 'laid-back attitude' in serious and sensitive cases. This is what can shake the public confidence and the only reason you and your brother judges should worry about."

reads the letter petition.

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