In Civics class at school, we are taught that there are three branches of Government. Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Yet, one tends to forget that Judiciary is also a major part of Government. And as all parts of Government, they have significant challenges and shortcomings. From time to time these are highlighted by citizens, however expressing opinions against Judicial branch has its own set of dangers. This was highlighted in the Criminal Contempt of Court proceedings brought against Booker prize winning author Arundhati Roy in 2015.
In May 2015, Ms. Roy had published an opinion piece in Outlook magazine - Professor P.O.W about the case against Delhi University Professor G.N. Saibaba. Later that year Mumbai High Court cancelled Prof. Saibaba’s bail application and started criminal contempt proceeding’s against Ms. Roy for writing the article. (News Article, TheWire).
It was only in last week that Apex court finally halted criminal proceedings against Ms. Roy. (News Article, The Hindu)
Defending free speech is not trivial and cannot be taken for granted. It’s a relief that Apex court of India seems to concur.
p.s. Prof. Saibaba was granted bail by Apex court on health grounds in April 2016 (News link)