Prashant Bhushan, a selective advocate of democracy

The Bhushan family has always been the crusaders for judicial transparency and accountability. Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant Bhushan have also been the saviours of human and environmental rights in the apex courts. They aren’t scared to take a right and principled stand but they should also be called out for their intermittent derogatory, abrupt statements and selectively targeting the public figures.

When confronting public cases, they have developed an annoying level of intolerance. They have victimized not only people with baseless allegation for an ideological difference but also the co-travellers and the liberals. Their reputation that took years to build up has now been damaged as a result of the aimless remarks without any valid evidence.

The Bhushans have an endless list of the number of people they have called corrupt. In an interview in 2009, Prashant Bhushan said that out of the 16 Chief Justices of India, 8 of them are corrupt.“In the applicant’s opinion, eight were definitely corrupt, six were definitely honest and about the remaining two, a definite opinion cannot be expressed whether they were honest or corrupt,” Shanti Bhushan added and segregated the chief justices in different categories of honesty. Prashant Bhushan, later on, withdrew his allegation against for Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia clarifying that using the word corrupt against him was only in the context of a ‘conflict of interest’ because Kapadia had shares in the mining group Vedanta Sterlite. But when Kapadia became the CJI, the supreme court used its powers to investigate the 2G spectrum and coal allocations which further led to the arrests of ministers and business tycoons.

The list of “corrupts” doesn’t end only with the Supreme Court Judges. The Bhushans have included Ravi Shankar Prasad, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tiwari, Pranab Mukherjee, Salman Khurshid and people from major corporate, colleagues at the bar and journalists in the media of the country. 

Prashant Bhushan had levelled allegations of corruption against Kapil Sibal. At that time, Kapil was the telecom minister in the UPA-II government and his son Amit Sibal a senior lawyer. Bhushan issued 2 press release, one in Hindi and the other one in English. ‘Kapil Sibal Gatha’, the Hindi Press release had claimed that Kapil Sibal favoured a telecom company because his son Amit was on counsel and these allegations were again made without any valid evidence.

Prashant Bhushan has been consecutively been targeting the Aam Aadmi Party. In the time frame from 2015-2018, if any member of AAP was booked by state agencies or any another incident would happen, Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav would applaud on TV and social media and in a constant response would say, “Didn’t we tell you they were all corrupt.” But when the principal secretary to Arvind Kejriwal the Delhi Chief Minister was raided and jailed by the CBI, Prashant tweeted, “Kejriwal screaming vendetta merely because his ‘trusted man’ is raided by CBI w/o informing is absurd. Should an accused be warned of a raid? The case against Kejriwal’s ‘trusted’ Principal Secy is substantial. Can’t scream Vendetta merely because an opp politico or his man is raided [sic].”  Bhushan has used words like ‘shameless’, ‘hypocrite’, and liar repeatedly for his former colleague who once was the most honest person in his books, Arvind Kejriwal.

When Kejriwal, in 2018 was accused by the  Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash of being slapped by AAP MLAs in the CM’s presence and when the low-ranking officers of the Delhi Police grilled at Kejriwal for hours, Prashant Bhushan didn’t think anything was wrong as the chief minister was being interrogated by the police on a trivial charge. Bhushan on the other hand chose the side of the bureaucrat whom he called a “very respected chief secretary”.“It was firstly improper to call the Chief Secretary at midnight to the residence of the CM for a meeting and secondly, all evidence seems to suggest that he was assaulted in that meeting,” He told India Today.

However, the outrage against oppression cant is selective. Prashant Bhushan made a list of ‘ten most corrupt ministers’, ‘hundred most corrupt politicians’, ‘eight most corrupt chief justices’, and ‘four chief justices who have destroyed the economy’ is deeply problematic as there is no clarity on how he reaches such figures or the measures that he uses to find the level of corruption. They are released without a shred of verifiable evidence.

The Bhushans shouldn’t be selective when it comes to fighting for the right. They cannot use elements or people as and when they like and spread faux news about them without any authentication. 

What do you think?

Written by Madeeha Khan

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