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A Citizen Must Have Some Standing or Knowledge before Questioning Capability and Integrity of a Judge: SC

Courtesy/By: Sumit Sanjay Ekbote | 2020-05-22 15:10

A Citizen Must Have Some Standing or Knowledge before Questioning Capability and Integrity of a Judge: SC

 

While holding three persons guilty of contempt of court for making scandalous allegations against judges, the Supreme Court made certain observations on the boundaries that should be kept for criticizing a judgment.

The court said that a citizen must have some standing or knowledge before questioning the capability or integrity of a judge of the highest court. No doubt, any citizen can comment or criticize the judgment of this court. However, that citizen must have some standing or knowledge before challenging the ability, capability, knowledge, honesty, integrity, and impartiality of a judge of the highest court of the land, observed a bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose.

The bench cautioned that criticism of a judgment should not amount to attributing motives to the judge, or questioning their competence. There can be no manner of doubt that any citizen of the country can criticize the judgments delivered by any court including this court. However, no party has the right to attribute motives to a judge or to question the bona fides of the judge or to raise questions with regard to the competence of the judge.

When any person whether he be a party to the proceedings or not criticizes a judgment of a court he could do so as long as that party does not level allegations of malafide, ulterior motives, extraneous reasons etc. the bench emphasized that no litigant has a right to attribute motives to a judge.

The purpose of having a law of contempt is not to prevent fair criticism but to ensure that the respect and confidence which the people of this country repose in the judicial system is not undermined in any manner whatsoever.

The bench observed that by and large judges are reluctant to initiate contempt even when personal attacks are made, but when there is concerted attempt to slander the judiciary, the court cannot shut its eyes. The court reiterated that bona fide criticism will not be contempt, but scandalizing will not be acceptable.

“Healthy and constructive criticism of the judgments cannot amount to contempt of court. However, if the allegations levelled go beyond the ambit of criticism and scandalize the court then there can be no manner of doubt that such utterances or written words would amount to contempt of court.”

 

 

Courtesy/By: Sumit Sanjay Ekbote | 2020-05-22 15:10