SC refuses to entertain PIL seeking no freedom of speech & on judice matters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL, seeking a declaration that there shall be no freedom of speech and expression with respect to sub judice matters and final orders and judgments passed by the courts, except to the extent of fair and true reporting.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde while refusing to entertain the plea, asked the petitioner, Dr Subhash Vijayan, to withdraw the plea as the court cannot pass such orders. Vijayan withdrew the plea thereafter.

The petitioner told the Bench that Judges cannot defend themselves against attacks. “Judges are not politicians,” he said.

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“Doing otherwise, directly or indirectly, would bring disrepute to the judiciary, and shake people’s confidence in the system. If anyone has any grievance, he has the right to move the courts through appropriate proceedings. Ranting out in the media and imputing motives/bias on the judges is neither good for the system nor is the solution to the grievances of the aggrieved,” he said in the plea.

The petitioner said that a trend is growing where a set of lawyers criticise the judges and the judiciary while directly or indirectly imputing motives on the judges for passing a verdict in a specific way. It said these acts prima facie constitute a contempt of court.

The petitioner objected to lawyers, particularly some senior advocates, who consume Court’s “precious time” and then express their displeasure with the outcome of court proceedings in the public domain.

The plea said while criticising the judgments on points of law is fair and healthy criticism and also a sign of a mature democracy, it is unhealthy to impute motives to the judges.

“Till what time is this court going to tolerate this unhealthy practice of maligning the courts and its Judges by the disgruntled and those with ulterior motives?” the petition added.

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