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The Supreme Court held that attributing political motives to judgments is equivalent to contempt of court

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran, in a 78-page judgment, expressed anger stating that the practice  of attributing political insinuation on judges in cases of political importance is “nothing, but an act of denigrating the judiciary itself and destroys the faith of the common man which he reposes in the judicial system”.

The bench said: “The court has the power of contempt and that lethal power too accompanies with greater responsibility. Contempt is a weapon like ‘Brahmastra’ to be used sparingly to remain effective. At the same time, a judge has to guard the dignity of the court and take action in contempt and in case of necessity to impose appropriate exemplary punishment too.” The court expressed anger by using the word, Brahmastra, and signified that the court always balances its act. The court said that referring court orders political is gravest contempt.

The court noticed that it has become very common that lawyers go to press and criticize judges, and referred that the independence of the judicial system is under system. “It has become very common to the members of the Bar to go to the press/media to criticise the judges in person and to commit sheer contempt by attributing political colours to the judgments. It is nothing less than an act of contempt of gravest form,” the judgment said.

These observations are part of court’s verdict on January 28, which struck down certain amendments in the Madras High Court Rules. Citing “media trial”, the apex court said that it is not an appropriate channel to decide cases. The court noted that the Bar and the Bench have an in-built machinery to deal with grievances. Outside interference is not healthy for the system, the bench referred.

“The judgment rendered by a judge is based upon the dint of hard work and quality of the arguments that are advanced before him by the lawyers. There is no room for arrogance either for a lawyer or for a judge,” said the court. In a word of advice for lawyers, the Supreme Court said lawyers should neither be sycophants of the judiciary nor “money guzzlers or ambulance chasers”. They should neither expect favours from the judiciary nor try to influence judges.

—India Legal Bureau

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