Our Conscience Clean, Shoulders Broad Enough: Bombay HC On Remarks Against Judiciary By Ruling Party Leaders
The Bombay High Court today said it does not pay heed to remarks made by political leaders and others against the judiciary and remarked that the shoulders of the court are broad enough and as long as the court's conscience is clean, people can say whatever they want to.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice V G Bisht said this after an advocate mentioned a PIL seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and others for allegedly passing remarks against the judiciary.
The PIL, filed by the Indian Bar Association, claimed the respondents have levelled several "false, scandalous and contemptuous" allegations against the high court judges and the entire judicial system.
An advocate appearing for the association sought an urgent hearing of the public interest litigation (PIL).
Let them say anything they want to say about the judiciary. Our shoulders are broad enough for such remarks. As long as our conscience is clean, let them say whatever, Chief Justice Datta said.
The Bench initially said that it would post the plea for hearing after the summer vacation. But, the petitioner's lawyer sought an urgent hearing. The Court then asked the Advocate to hand over the precipe (application submitted seeking urgent hearing) and said it would see when to list the plea for hearing.
The PIL listed various instances wherein comments were purportedly made against the judiciary, including a recent comment of Raut after the high court granted interim protection from arrest to former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya in a cheating case.
According to the petition, after the order, Raut allegedly gave interviews and made "scandalous statements" that judges of courts, particularly the Bombay HC, are granting reliefs to BJP members and not granting relief to the accused ministers of their parties (Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress which share power in Maharashtra).
"This has been done to undermine the majesty and dignity of the court and to shake the faith of the common man in judiciary, which is the grossest contempt of court," the plea said.
The PIL has also sought contempt action against Rashmi Thackeray, the editor of Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' and wife of CM Uddhav Thackeray, as well as Saamana's printer and publisher Vivek Kadam.
"The respondents/contemnors, who are holding ministerial berths and are in power, are involved in a campaign of scandalising the entire judicial system only because judgements rendered by courts do not suit them," the PIL said.
"The contemnors are shouting against the judges of the Bombay High Court by citing the narrative that courts are granting reliefs to people belonging to the BJP, but the same reliefs are not being granted to accused ministers, members and leaders of their party," the petition said.
The PIL claimed that judges are under tremendous pressure since every order passed by them is being scanned and defamed by the contemnors.
With PTI inputs