Two lawyers have filed separate pleas with Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on Monday seeking his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against senior advocate and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal over his statements allegedly undermining the dignity and independent nature of the Supreme Court.
In a letter to the AG, advocate Vineet Jindal said "Mr. Kapil Sibal... has directly made allegations with intent to disgrace and scandalise the sitting judges of the highest court, the Supreme Court, of our country. The statements by Mr. Sibal has scandalized the judgments passed by the Supreme Court judges and accused the judges for being corrupt."
Jindal said Sibal was speaking at event "People's Tribunal" which was organised on Saturday at Delhi on the "Judicial Rollback of Civil Liberties" by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and the National Alliance of People's movements (NAPM)
Jindal claimed Sibal had reportedly said: "... I do not want to talk like this about a court where I have practised for 50 years but the time has come. If we don't speak it, who will? The reality is such that any sensitive matter which we know has a problem is placed before certain judges and we know the outcome."
The letter further added, Sibal also questioned the independence of the judiciary saying: "Jis court mein judge bithaye jaate hain (where judges are instituted) through a process of compromise, a court where there is no system to determine which case will be presided over by which bench, where the Chief Justice of India decides which matter will be dealt with by which bench and when, that court can never be independent."
Jindal said if this kind of precedent were allowed, political leaders would start making reckless allegations against the judges of the highest court of our country and this trend would soon lead to the failure of an independent judicial system. "I am therefore seeking your kind consent under section 15 (1) (b) of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971, read with rule 3 of the rules to regulate the proceedings for the contempt of the Supreme court 1975 to initiate criminal contempt against Mr. Kapil Sibal," he said in his letter.
In a separate letter, advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha also sought consent from the AG to initiate contempt action against Sibal.
Jha said the speech of the contemnor is not only against the Supreme Court and its judges but is a process to undermine the dignity and independent nature of the top court by scandalising the authority of both the court and its judges.
"That this is becoming a common trend and setting wrong precedence that lawyers with political affiliations use judiciary as a means to push their political agenda thereby criticising the Court and the whole legal system by making reckless allegations against judges who do not decide cases in their favor," said Jha's letter to the AG.