Paraphrasing a tweet that I read earlier today: if the judges of the Meghalaya High Court were any more fragile, they’ll have to be checked in with fragile items and a sticker on top at the airport to be able to fly. That, at any rate, seems to be the only conclusion one can draw from reading the bizarre order (and the equally disturbing record of proceedings) passed by a two-judge bench of that Court today, holding two editor and publisher of the Shillong Times guilty of contempt of court, fining them Rs. 2 lakh, and failing that, six months imprisonment and a ban (!) upon the newspaper.What calumny did The Shillong Times level at the Learned Justice S.R. Sen – who, incidentally, issued notice for contempt of himself, and then also wrote the judgment finding the journalist in contempt (one might call that a classic case of being a judge in one’s own cause, but one wouldn’t, because that might be construed by the Learned Judge to be contempt)?
Author: Gautam Bhatia
The 2011 National Law School graduate studied at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He then went to Yale University to study constitutional law.
Back in India, his earliest legal training was in the trial courts where he assisted Advocate Jawahar Raja in Delhi. Bhatia worked on the bail petition of singers of the Kabir Kala Manch, a cultural organisation that campaigns against social inequality in 2015. From there, an introduction to Advocate Arvind Datar, who was working on the National Judicial Appointments Commission, made Bhatia apply his constitutional law learnings.
In August 2017, Bhatia saw himself thrust into the limelight as the second chair to Datar arguing for the Right to Privacy. The issue had emerged out of the multiple litigations challenging the Aadhaar Act, in which Bhatia had made his entry into the Supreme Court by working for Datar, challenging the linking of an individual Aadhaar number to the holder’s PAN card.
His recent book is The Transformative Constitution: A Radical Biography in Nine Acts.