- The bench said political motives cannot be attributed to the judiciary.
- Judges cannot defend themselves in front of the media, it added.
- Bench said court will have to take up contempt proceedings in such cases.
The Supreme Court today came down heavily on activist-lawyers who "attribute political colours" to judicial verdicts, terming it as "contempt of the gravest form". A two-judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran said this following allegations of political bias by the judiciary.
"One cannot attribute political motives to the judges or the judiciary. You may lodge complaints against judges in an appropriate forum, but attacking them in the press over unfavourable judgments is uncalled for," the bench said in its verdict, adding that lawyers should not try to influence court decisions through media debates.
"Judges cannot go to the media to defend themselves. In order to protect their independence, the bar and bench have formed their own inbuilt machinery for redressal of grievance -- if any -- and they are supposed to settle their grievances in accordance with that only. No outside interference is permissible," the top court bench said.
The verdict came on a petition by a Chennai lawyer, who challenged the Madras High Court's decision to amend rules for barring a lawyer from practice over alleged misconduct.
The Supreme Court bench, in its order, claimed that serving the judiciary was no less than the call to military service. It said that while contempt procedures are akin to the Brahmastra, which should be used sparingly to remain effective, judges are also required to guard the dignity of the court. "So, there are times when we have to take action in contempt, and when deemed necessary, impose exemplary punishment too," it added.
The Brahmastra, as described in Hindu epic Mahabharata, is a weapon of last resort that should ideally never be used in combat. It is said to be a single projectile charged with all the power in the universe.
The judges further said that it was "impermissible" to malign the legal system by attributing political motives to judges and making false allegations against the judiciary. "If things are permitted to be settled by resorting to unscrupulous means, and institutions are maligned by creating pressure of any kind, the very independence of the system would be endangered," the verdict read.