A PIL was filed by an advocate Dr Subhash Vijayran before the SC to declare that no freedom of speech and expression on court proceedings and judgments except to the extent of true and fair reporting.
Brief facts of the case
When a Division Bench of Rajasthan HC, ordered to extend the status quo on Speaker’s Disqualification Notices regarding the Rajasthan political crisis. On 25.07.2020, Congress leader and Senior Advocate, Mr P. Chidambaram tweets which allegedly imputing motives and bias on the judges, concerning Rajasthan political crisis and pending adjudication before the HC and SC.
The petitioner approached the SC with the aforesaid issue and prays to declare that there is no freedom of speech and expression concerning the pending matters and final verdicts before the courts. The exception being the extent of fair and true reporting of the court’s proceedings, in a manner that does not directly/indirectly impute motives/ bias on the judges.
Arguments of the petitioner
The petitioner submitted that “apparently innocuous” tweets impute that the judges of the SC and the HC hearing the matter are puppets of the Central Government and pass orders in its favour. He stated that this imputation can be seen in replies of the above mentioned Chidambaram’s tweet. He also submitted that by imputing motives/bias to the judges, the entire judicial system gets disgraced. And it shakes the confidence of the general public in the judiciary.
Oral Arguments by Petitioner
- Petitioner argued that Judges are not politicians and hence cannot respond or defend themselves against various imputations. Imputations hinder the judge’s ability to think in a straight manner and ultimately hamper the administration of justice.
- The petitioner stated that there are so many methods that can be adopted to improve our judicial system. National Judicial Accountability Commission can be set up, to entertain complaints against judges.
- Petitioner also argued that the court should come up with an order which defines the bounds of law within which one could comment on the judiciary and report court proceedings.
The Supreme Court ordered that the present matter requires time so as to decide the question of jurisdiction. The Apex Court directed the High Court not to pass any orders for which it had heard the matter. The SC had also laid down that any decision can be taken only after the court comes to a suitable conclusion regarding the present petition.
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