Wednesday, March 29, 2023
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SC contempt notice to Prashant Bhushan for his tweets on Justice Bobde’s bike photo, ex-CJIs

The bench also issued notices to Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, seeking his opinion, and Twitter Incorporated.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday issued contempt notice to Advocate Prashant Bhushan for two of his tweets on Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde as well as former CJIs.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari asked Bhushan to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.

In one of his tweets on 27 June, Bhushan had written about the “role of the Supreme Court” in the “destruction” of democracy during the last 6 years, and had also mentioned the “role of the last 4 CJIs” in it.

In another tweet, on 29 June, Bhushan had commented on Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde astride a Harley Davidson bike. He had questioned the CJI for riding a bike without a helmet and a face mask, while “he keeps the SC in lockdown mode”.

The bench also issued notice to Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, to seek his opinion on the issue. Twitter Incorporated will also be filing a reply.

While the apex court had initiated a suo motu case against Bhushan Tuesday, a Madhya Pradesh lawyer, Mahek Maheshwari had also filed a petition against Bhushan and Twitter on 2 July, asking for contempt proceedings to be initiated against Bhushan.

He had cited Bhushan’s Harley Davidson tweet.

Maheshwari’s petition had called Bhushan’s remarks “too inhuman”, and had highlighted the efforts of the judges in ensuring that cases were being heard through video conferencing. The petition noted that the tweet put a “big question on the sovereign functions of the CJI and their abiding nature to the Constitution”.

Maheshwari also called the tweet a “cheap publicity stunt… to spread hatred in the form of anti-India campaign”.

The matter will be heard next on 5 August.

Also read: Prashant Bhushan’s ‘absolute slander’ on Republic TV, & what of the farmers, asks NDTV India

Not the first time Bhushan’s tweets have landed him in trouble

This isn’t the first time that Bhushan’s tweet has landed him within the court’s contempt jurisdiction.

In March 2019, AG Venugopal and the central government had filed a contempt plea against Bhushan, for his tweet alleging that the government misled the Supreme Court on  the appointment of M. Nageswara Rao as the interim Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

However, during the proceedings, Bhushan accepted that he had made a “genuine mistake”, prompting Venugopal to offer to withdraw his contempt plea.

However, in the meantime, Bhushan had filed an application seeking Justice Mishra’s recusal from the bench hearing the case. Following this, the central government remained firm about not withdrawing the contempt plea.

While hearing the case, the court decided to examine whether it was open to anyone criticising court proceedings in order to influence public opinion and to what extent this affects the rights of litigants and administration of justice.

This matter was last heard in April 2019.

Also read: Supreme Court initiates contempt proceedings against Prashant Bhushan, Twitter India


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  1. Is judiciary is so much intolerant? If other 2 organs (” executive and legislative” ) could take criticism,why can’t judiciary? … That to genuine criticism… Everyone knows about credibility of judiciary ( cleen chit for 2G spectrum case, Amit Shah, ayodhya case ,not listening to J and K struck down of fundamental rights. And still many….)

  2. When CJI Gogoi and his companion judges said before press, that benches were made on political considerations, there was no hue and cry. Did it not bring disrepute to the SC ? Had a commoner commented like that, they would have hanged him. And any guess who was the judge , who was under question by Gogoi and co , the then CJI, Dipak Mishra , son of another CJI, Rangnath Mishra.

  3. How far Mr Prashant Bhushan is incorrect about his comments? If his statements r incorrect, he is of course liable to face contempt of strictest nature because he commented on “the highest” judicial institution, But if he is true, the failures are also by, “the highest” and if so, then how many persons r there in the country having the courage to ring the bell? Instead of blaming him first it will be wise to discuss and or to ask him why he made such comments on “the highest”, once known as ” world’s most powerful institution”. If he commented on facts or truth, it do not amount a contempt as per law as we all know. If one looks at the incidents of last 3/4 years independently and dispassionately, starting from the Judges Press Meet to quick Rajya Sabha Membership of ex-Chief Justice of India Mr Ranjan Gogoi, the newly invented one-way-closed-envelop system in many matters of national importance, to the Delhi Riot-mid-night-trasfer of Delhi High Court Judge issue, the CAA related pre-conditioning announcement indicating first ever kind of situation by the present Hon’ble Chief Justice , stand on promotion and transfer of Justice Akhil Kureshi, stand on CAA, to silence for long on the plight of millions of migrant labourers till it was too late, stand on Arnab Goswami on his continuous all out effort to create national communal disharmony to give benefit to a particular Political Party, etc. r of course very much discouraging and disheartening. Of course “the highest” r also human beings and to err is human. But continuous and series of incidents…… …. on which all can’t keep witnessing silently and continuously. If Mr Bhushan is correct, imagine the far-reaching, super-massive consequences of those failures both at national and international level . Martin Luther King said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere “. Thanks. A K Talukdar, Advocate, Guwahati.

  4. Indian SC is now a showpiece only. The judges don’t have any deep knowledge of the Indian constitution and serve only the agenda of BJP. These dumb judges even allowed the CAA and CPR which even a layman could say was unconstitutional.

  5. Prashant Bhushan, Ram Guha etc deliberately make these tweets to be in limelight for 15 minutes.

  6. Why cannot the Government Of India and the Supreme Court take criticism?

    And why the notice to Twitter. Just because you are powerful doesn’t mean you issue notices to everyone.

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