SC holds Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt for tweets against CJI, judiciary

Updated: 14 August, 2020 12:12 IST | mid-day online correspondent | New Delhi

On July 22, the top court had issued a showcause notice to Prashant Bhushan after initiating the criminal contempt against him for his two tweets

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan was held guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court on Friday over his two tweets against Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and his four predecessors.

The order was passed by a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai, and Krishna Murari. The apex court is yet to decide on the quantum of punishment, and the hearing on the sentence is scheduled on August 20.

The top court had on August 5 reserved its verdict in the matter after Bhushan defended his two alleged contemptuous tweets saying they were against the judges regarding their conduct in their personal capacity, and they did not obstruct administration of justice.

On July 22, the top court had issued a showcause notice to Bhushan after initiating the criminal contempt against him for his two tweets.

The SC had not agreed to the contention of senior advocate Dushayant Dave, representing Bhushan, that the separate plea had raised objection against the manner in which the contempt proceedings were started without the opinion of Attorney General K K Venugopal and it be sent to another bench.

Bhushan had sought a direction to declare that the top court's secretary-general has allegedly "acted unconstitutionally and illegally" in accepting a "defective contempt petition" filed against him, which was initially placed on the administrative side and later on the judicial side.

Referring to a judgement, the top court had said that it has "meticulously" followed the law in entertaining the contempt plea and it did not agree to the submission that it be sent to another bench for hearing.

Dave had said, "The two tweets were not against the institution. They are against the judges in their personal capacity regarding their conduct. They are not malicious and do not obstruct administration of justice.”

Bhushan has made immense contribution to the development of jurisprudence and there are "at least 50 judgments to his credit", he had said, adding that the court has appreciated his contributions in cases like 2G scam, coal block allocation and in mining matters.

In a 142-page reply affidavit, Bhushan stood by his two tweets and had said the expression of opinion, "however outspoken, disagreeable or unpalatable to some", cannot constitute contempt of court.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published: 14 August, 2020 11:30 IST

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