The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said Prashant Bhushan’s conviction is against International Law

ICJ said Bhushan’s conviction for criminal contempt of court by the Supreme Court of India is inconsistent with the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that India is a party to.

1800 lawyers had joined the meeting for the Supreme Court to review the standards of criminal contempt, said ICJ in a statement which comprises of Judges and lawyers.

“While the court only imposed a symbolic fine of one rupee, rather than imprisonment, the ICJ considers, that the conviction appears to be inconsistent with international standards on freedom of expression and the role of lawyers”, said the statement, adding that the judgement risked having a “chilling effect on the exercise of protected freedom of expression in India”.

“While some restrictions of freedom of expression are permitted by international standards, a particularly wide scope must be preserved for debate and discussion about matters such as the role of judiciary, access to justice and democracy, by members of the public, including through public commentary on the courts”, it stated.

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