Asserting that nobody can be given the liberty to criticise judges in a pick and choose manner without proof, former Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Chairman Advocate Lekh Raj Sharma on Wednesday said senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan was basically forwarding the agenda of some political persons under the garb of fair criticism.
Speaking to ANI over the phone, Sharma said whoever undermines the authority of the Supreme Court and accuse the Supreme Court judges in a pick and choose manner without proof is liable to be punished under criminal contempt.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday reserved its order on the quantum of punishment for Bhushan, who was recently held guilty of contempt of court over his tweets accusing former Chief Justices of India for being responsible for the state of affairs in the country.
"Under the garb of freedom of speech, nobody whether he is an ordinary person or a literate person, and even a law officer of the court, can be given legality to criticise judges in a pick and choose manner without proof," Sharma said adding that Bhushan was rightly convicted.
He also highlighted the "leniency extended to Bhushan" despite the fact that he was held guilty of contempt of court. "He was given more time to apologise. Whatever he thinks cannot be right. What is right will be decided by the judges," the lawyer said.
"Under criticism, if you follow this pick and choose a policy and then to criticise certain judges because they passed a certain verdict, which is not good according to you. So, it is not a fair criticism. It is basically forwarding the agenda of some political person for someone else under the garb of fair criticism," Sharma said.
"The sentence is up to the Supreme Court. But because he is a very aged person, according to me, the Supreme Court instead of punishing him itself, should ask the State Bar Council or the Bar Council of India to treat this entire act as professional misconduct, hold an inquiry and take a decision and submit the report," he added.
Sharma said going to the media and commenting on social media will not serve any purpose and added that Bhushan should have come up with proof and approached the competent authority.
The former Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana also noted that former High Court judge Justice (retd) CS Karnan was also convicted and sentenced for contempt of court.
The Supreme Court, had on May 9, 2017, convicted Justice (retd) Karnan for contempt of court and sentenced the sitting High Court judge to six months imprisonment, making history for the Indian judiciary.