Rather such surveys instead gave opportunity to address the malady in the system, said the Bench.
Supreme Court has expunded that a report based on the public views regarding the corruption in judiciary may not invite contempt of court action.
It added that such surveys instead gave opportunity to address malady in system.
Apex Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar a and also comprising of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay K Kaul enunciated that law of contempt would not ordinarily encompass individuals or organisations which interview people and compile their views on whether the judiciary was also afflicted with corrupt practises such as bribing and exercising influences.
SC further questioned that,“How do you understand society? You raise questions; ask people in society; record their views and then compile it to see how people think…What is their perception of a particular institution or an issue. Where will the research go if this is contempt of court?” .
It added that collection of data by individuals or organisations would not invite contempt.
“Are you saying that if there is a malady, whether it is expediting a case or delaying it, and other such acts, should we close our eyes? If somebody collects data, we think, someone should look at it closely and find ways to remedy the problems,” it added.
Apec Court was responding to a submission by Counsel for Jammu and Kashmir Government who had sought to defend a show-cause notice which was issued to Transparency International (India) and the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) for releasing a damning report on corruption in State’s Subordinate Judiciary.
This report was based on a survey of litigants and more than 90 per cent of respondents complained of corrupt practices, which included bribes to delay cases or assign them to other judges, to lose or misplace files etc.
J&K-based newspaper, published this report, Judicial Magistrate in Kangan issued a show-cause notice to the chairman of Transparency International and CEO of CMS in May, 2006.
The notice was issued under provisions of Contempt of Court Act as well provisions of criminal defamation.
Bench added that if a Magistrate feels that an aspersion is casted on his integrity all he can do is seek a reply on why proceedings be not initiated against him and if the reply is found unsatisfactory send a reference to the High Court.
SC said that the Magistrate definitely exceeded his powers in issuing bailable warrants to secure the personal presence of the TII and CMS officials as a he could not have issued the Warrants of Arrest against the alleged contemnor.
Apex Court Bench has referred matter back to magistrate for hearing it afresh from stage of issuing show-cause notice and decide the future course of action strictly in accordance with law. Indian Express
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