A petition moved before the Supreme Court on August 16 has sought the initiation of criminal contempt of court proceedings against Swara Bhaskar for her comments made at a panel discussion in February at the Mumbai Collective.
Mumbai Collective is a group of citizens from Mumbai who organizes a two-day panel every year in order to discuss issues relating to secularism and democracy. Noted activists, intellectuals, and artists often participate in the event.
This year, at the event, Swara Bhaskar spoke about the Citizenship Amendment Act and the protests that had erupted across the country in order to resist the Act. The petition questioned her comments regarding the Supreme Court decision on the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. According to the petition, she had said,
“We are now in a situation where are courts are not sure whether they believe in the constitution or not…What then do we do and it seems to me that as everyone has said that the path is clear to us and it has been shown to us by you all whoever of you all have been part of the protest by the students by the women and by the citizen protestors it is to resist…”
“We are living in a country where the Supreme Court of our country states in a judgment that the demolition of Babri Masjid was unlawful and in the same judgment rewards the same people who brought down the mosque…”
While these comments were factual, and simply critiqued the contradiction in the verdict given by the Supreme Court, the petitioner said that Bhaskar was provoking the gathering to resist and revolt against the Apex court of India.
The petitioner is Usha Shetty, who is a leader of the right-wing organisation, Virat Hindustan Sangham (VHS) Karnataka, founded by Subramaniam Swamy. The petition was filed through advocates Anuj Saxena, Prakash Sharma, and Mahek Maheshwari. Mahek Maheshwari is the advocate who filed the complaint against Prashant Bhushan. Maheshwari began his legal career at BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy’s law office and is an active member of the Virat Hindustan Sangham.