New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday found advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of “serious contempt” for two of his tweets on Chief Justice of India (CJI) S.A. Bobde and former CJIs.
The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari said it will hear arguments on the punishment, which can go up to a maximum of 6 months in jail, on 20 August.
The court had initiated contempt proceedings against Bhushan on 21 July. In one of his tweets, Bhushan had commented on CJI Bobde’s photo astride a Harley Davidson bike. In the second tweet, he had criticised the incumbent and past CJIs.
The same bench had on 10 August also refused to accept his explanation for his interview to Tehelka magazine in 2009, when he had made allegations of corruption against past CJIs. It decided to proceed with the decade-old contempt case against him, and the hearing will begin from 17 August.
Apologised for part of Harley tweet featuring CJI Bobde
Earlier this month, Bhushan had apologised for a portion of his tweet on CJI Bobde even as he stood by the rest of his tweets on Bobde and former CJIs.
Apologising for his 29 June tweet featuring a photograph of CJI Bobde “riding” a Harley Davidson bike, Bhushan said he regrets mentioning that the CJI was not wearing a helmet as he had not noticed that the bike was stationary.
“At the outset I admit that I did not notice that the bike was on a stand and therefore wearing a helmet was not required. I therefore regret that part of my tweet,” he submitted in an affidavit filed in response to the contempt notice issued to him.
About his other tweets, however, Bhushan had said they were his “bonafide impression about the manner and functioning of the Supreme Court in the past years”.
He had reiterated his criticism over the restricted functioning of the Supreme Court during the lockdown and pandemic, and said bonafide critique of the actions of the CJI cannot and does not scandalise the court.