The Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution to support the Supreme Court’s decision to hold lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt in the suo motu case against him for his tweets posted in June, Live Law reported.

The resolution, signed by chairperson Subhash Ghatge, said the council represents the interests of 1.75 lakh lawyers in Maharashtra and Goa. It said lawyers practising in both the states stand by the August 14 verdict of the Supreme Court and condemn “efforts to pressurise” the judiciary.

Prominent personalities, including retired Supreme Court judges, senior lawyers, former bureaucrats, politicians and human rights organisation have criticised the top court’s order against Bhushan, calling it “alarming”, and a “blow to the rule of law”.

The resolution said it was “alarming” that lawyers made “scandalous and scurrilous” remarks against the judiciary when their “political ends” are not served. Bhushan’s first tweet commented about undeclared emergency and the role of Supreme Court and last four chief justices of India. Another tweet was about Chief Justice SA Bobde trying out a Harley Davidson superbike in his hometown Nagpur.

“The Supreme Court of India as well as the judges are subject to both scurrilous language, malicious attacks and scandalising remarks,” the resolution said. “Legitimate criticism of both judgments and the functioning of the institution has always existed, however, when the system [is] miscalculated and actuated by malice, it is the authority of the court which is undermined.”

It said the faith of the people in the judiciary was undermined by the “name-calling”, calling the trend to attack the Supreme Court “dangerous”. The resolution added: “If the judiciary is to perform its duties and function effectively, it is essential to protect the dignity and authority of the courts. The foundation of the judiciary is the confidence of the people in its ability to deliver justice. The actions of these institutional disruptors through name calling and usage of certain phrases such as ‘Supreme Court has destroyed democracy’, the ‘Supreme Court is killing the Constitution’ have the tendency to destroy the fort [faith] of the public in the judiciary.”

The council said they are in total agreement with the steps taken by the judiciary. “We unanimously state that the efforts of pressurising hon’ble judges by making reckless statements are in total derogation of the Constitution of India,” they added. “The trend to malign Supreme Court is dangerous and must be dealt with iron hand. Anyone who maligns the Supreme Court of India must be dealt as per law. We repose confidence in the entire Judicial System and we condemn the efforts to pressurise the judiciary.”

The hearing on the quantum of punishment in the contempt case will be held today. On Wednesday, Bhushan had asked the court to defer proceedings till his review petition was filed and considered.

Also read:

  1. Prashant Bhushan contempt verdict by Supreme Court betrays curious double standards
  2. Prashant Bhushan verdict: Over 1,800 lawyers ask for open court hearing by larger bench