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  1. 1. ACTIVISTS ‘DARE’ SC TO SLAP CONTEMPT CHARGESTIMES NEWS NETWORKNew Delhi: In a dramatic throwback to civil disobedience, over 30 prominentpersons have decided to “court contempt” daring the judiciary to punish themalong with Mid Day journalists for making allegations against former Chief JusticeY K Sabharwal.Since the HC held that the publication of those allegations amounted to contemptand sentenced the journalists to four months of imprisonment, the group led byRTI campaigner Arvind Kejriwal announced on Tuesday that they would file anapplication before the Supreme Court reiterating the allegations and saying, “Weplead guilty to the same charge of contempt and request this Hon’ble Court tosentence us to the same punishment.”The application is due to be filed on Thursday, on the eve of the hearing of theappeal by the journalists against the HC verdict. The draft application said thatunless it was reversed, the judgment was bound to send out a message that “ifany judge indulged in any wrongdoing, the people of India do not have a right tospeak about it or demand an inquiry into it.”Besides Kejriwal, those who are participating in this novel form of protest includeMagsaysay awardees Aruna Roy, Sandeep Pandey and Rajendra Singh, formerNAC member Jean Dreze, former bureaucrats Harsh Mander and S P Shukla,senior journalist Prabhash Joshi and an array of academics, doctors and socialactivists.
  2. 2. The meeting addressed by, among others, author-activist Arundhati Roy,advocate Prashant Bhushan and AIIMS professor Anoop Saraya, denounced theHC’s decision to convict the journalists (without going into the veracity of theirallegations against ex-CJI) as ‘‘an assault on our freedom of speech andexpression.’’While acknowledging the service rendered by the judiciary in various spheres,including to protect the freedom of speech, the proposed application said that theHC verdict this month in the Mid Day case however ‘‘strikes at the found of ourrespect’’ for the courts.Prashant Bhushan said that if the SC, instead of reversing the HC verdict,decides to throw the applicants behind bars along with Mid Day staffers, therewill be many more who will commit the same offence of reiterating the allegationsagainst Justice Sabharwal. and dare the apex court to sentence them as well.