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Caesar’s wife

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Supreme Court is the highest authority on law in the land, and the highest arbiter of any legal dispute. So it is absolutely imperative that those who are part of that authority, the judges who sit in the Supreme Court, are above reproach. Like Caesar’s wife, not only must they not be involved in anything wrong, they must not be suspected of doing anything wrong, either.

Reality is far from this ideal. We the people have no idea if the justices of our Supreme Court are involved in any wrongdoing, but any doubt about their integrity, or any suspicion about their conflicts of interest, are quelled immediately by the court by way of a contempt notice. The latest to draw the court’s ire is Prashant Bhushan, for his interview with Tehelka, titled ‘Half Of The Last 16 Chief Justices Were Corrupt’. (I first learned about the issues here, here and here.)

Now Shanti Bhushan, former Law minister and Prashant Bhushan’s father, has submitted a petition to the Supreme Court, repeating the statement that eight of the last 16 supreme court justices were definitely corrupt (other reports here, here, here).

This is a cause I support wholeheartedly. The contempt law has completely stifled all criticism of the legal system, and provides a precedence for rules and regulations blocking criticism of the government. If the Supreme Court agrees that the public at large has the right to criticise it, at least on the grounds of freedom of speech, and that contempt  of court should refer only to acts which prevent the functioning of the court.

I thought this report this morning was rather ironic in this context.

Update: Prashant Bhushan has filed another affidavit with the Supreme Court on Saturday listing alleged instances of `corruption’ of six past CJIs.

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