Lawyer-Activist Prashant Bhushan Refuses to Succumb Under Supreme Court Bullying

Prashant Bhushan
Prashant Bhushan

Surprisingly the Supreme Court has been rejecting all such petitions that challenge the Modi government’s decisions.

By Rakesh Raman

A leading human rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan refused to budge, as the Supreme Court of India asked him to change his statement regarding a ‘contempt of court’ case which was heard today to decide the quantum of punishment for Bhushan.

A fierce critic of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, the 63-year-old lawyer can be punished for up to six months in jail, or fine, or both. But he said in the court that he is ready to accept the sentence instead of changing his statement issued in response to the prosecution in this case.

In today’s hearing, Justice Arun Mishra – who is known for his proximity to PM Modi – has given a couple of days time to Bhushan to change his statement that exposes the impropriety in the top Indian judiciary including the Supreme Court judges.

As Mishra is known for his loyalty and devotion to Modi, in February, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had issued a resolution to denounce his praise for Modi at an event in Delhi.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) issued a resolution to denounce Justice Arun Mishra’s praise for Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) issued a resolution to denounce Justice Arun Mishra’s praise for Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

Recently, the Supreme Court had found Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for his tweets against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the Indian judiciary.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said Bhushan was found to have committed “serious” contempt, and the hearing for punishment in the case was held today (August 20).

Bhushan had tweeted about the impropriety of the present CJI when he was riding an expensive motorcycle that belonged to a BJP leader in Nagpur. He had also tweeted about the “undeclared emergency” in India and suggested that the Supreme Court had a role in ensuring its continuation.

In 2018, Bhushan had filed a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), urging the agency to register an FIR against PM Modi and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar, allegedly for a range of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, committed in the course of the April 2015 decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault Aviation.

He is so certain about Modi government’s corruption in the Rafale deal that since October 2018 he has pinned the tweet about this case at the top of his Twitter account.

In November 2019, the Supreme Court had suddenly put a final break on the controversial Rafale corruption case in which PM Modi was a prime accused, although many believe that an investigation into this case was required.

Bhushan has also been instrumental in initiating public interest litigation (PIL) against the government and PM Modi, including the case that demanded a probe into the Sahara-Birla payoff case.

Recently, an NGO ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL)’ had filed a petition through Bhushan to seek a direction to the Modi government to transfer all contributions made to a secret PM-CARES Fund, set up for Covid-19 relief, to a transparent and auditable National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).

But surprisingly the Supreme Court has been rejecting all such petitions that challenge the Modi government’s decisions. While such cases that affect a large number of citizens should be held in open courts and live-streamed, the Supreme Court does not allow even a proper debate on these cases.

As Bhushan has been openly attacking PM Modi, the Modi government, and the top judiciary, the contempt of court proceedings against him seem to be an act of vindictiveness. And the top court is bullying him to change his opinion about the court’s collusion with the Modi government that led to the erosion of democracy in India.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications and research reports on different subjects. These publications include the “Covid Health Bulletin” that covers global coronavirus news and views.

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