A group of concerned citizens have reached out to the President of India with a deputation condemning attempts by a lobby headed by advocate Prashant Bhushan to undermine the authority of the judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular. The signatories in the deputation include former bureaucrats, judges, army officials, accountants and various other well known people from different walks of life.
Recently a huge debate was triggered in the country after Supreme Court initiated a suo motu contempt case against Prashant Bhushan for raising questions on the integrity of the judiciary and several Chief Justices through a couple of tweets. Couple of days later a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also decided to resume hearing in another contempt case against him pending since 2009.
Post this, Prashant Bhushan apperantly resorted to pressure building tactics. At first, around 131 dignitaries came out with a statement condemning the contempt proceeding against Bhushan, terming it as an intervention in “freedom of speech.” They further went on to urge the apex court to withdraw the case against Bhushan at “earliest.” The signatories in the statement included names like Yogendra Yadav, who is an old associate of Bhushan.
Then on 1st of August, Prashant Bhushan, N Ram and Arun Shourie filed a plea in the Supreme Court, challenging the very validity of the contempt law, citing “freedom of speech.”
The concerned citizens have hit out at these attempts by Prashant Bhushan and his associates, accusing them of interfering in the procedures of the Supreme Court by applying pressure.
On Friday evening, the Concerned Citizens convened a press meet in which they were represented by Former President of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, Chandra Wadhwa, retired IAS Anand Bose and Sarvesh Kaushal, Major General (Retd) Dhruv Katoch, Lt General (Retd) VK Chaturvedi and Former Chief Justice of Sikkim, Permod Kohli.
All the panelists unanimously condemned the attempts by Prashant Bhushan and associates to undermine the credibility of Supreme Court and other democratic institutions such as the parliament.
When asked by the SatyaVijayi correspondent on whether a lobby is trying to hit at the root of the nation’s democracy by attacking institutions, all the panelists responded in positive.
Former Chief Justice of Sikkim, Permod Kohli agreed to the question saying that a lobby is indeed trying to undermine the institutions and interfering in functioning of the apex court through pressure building tactics. Whereas, former senior IAS officer and Chief Secretary of Kerala, Anand Bose said that there are several such lobbies which consist of “enemies of the country from beyond the borders and frenemies from within.” He mentioned lobbies like the ultra leftists and urban naxals.
Former senior IAS Sarvesh Kaushal said that some people have taken it upon themselves to represent the entire “civil society.” He said that their aim is to clear this misconception that civil society is only the lobby which attacks the nation and its institutions on every occasion. They are trying to provide a voice to the silent majority who are against such attempts.
Meanwhile another controversy has erupted regarding the listing of the petition filed by Bhushan which challenged validity of the contempt law. It was noted that the pertinent rules and procedures were flouted in listing this petition, requiring explanations from the officials involved in the concerned section of the registry.