By Nihal Sahu
Nihal is a B.A. LL.B (Hons.) Candidate at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies in India, and serves as the Managing Editor (Blog) of the NUALS Law Journal. At the moment, Nihal is deeply interested in the relationship between religion and the Indian state.
The conviction and sentencing of Prashant Bhushan - one of India’s leading liberal lawyers - for contempt of court was deeply troubling. The Indian Supreme Court’s judgment comes at a critical moment in India’s constitutional history, marked by serious concerns about whether the Court is fulfilling its duty as a protector of civil liberties. The Bhushan case, while dispiriting, is not entirely unprecedented. Politicians and writers critical of the Court have been prosecuted for contempt before. However, the case is still worth examining because it serves as a reminder that institutions, including courts, are merely, to paraphrase Emerson, the lengthened shadows of men. It reminds us that the judicial office is not somehow transformative, that judges do not abandon their prejudices when they don the robe.