'Inadvertent mistake': SC clarifies no contempt case registered against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai

The Supreme Court website previously showed that it had registered a suo motu criminal contempt case against the journalist in connection with his tweets critiquing the judiciary in August 2020

FP Staff February 16, 2021 21:25:30 IST
'Inadvertent mistake': SC clarifies no contempt case registered against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai

File image of journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday late night clarified that its website "inadvertently" showed that a suo motu contempt case against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai for his tweets has been registered, reports PTI.

"This is in context with the news item being flashed in some news channels about initiating suo motu criminal contempt proceeding against Rajdeep Sardesai by the Supreme Court, it is made clear that no such proceeding has been initiated against Rajdeep Sardesai."

"However, the status shown at the Supreme Court's website vide case no. SMC (Crl) 02/2021 has been placed inadvertently. Appropriate action to rectify the same is under process," Supreme Court Deputy Registrar (public relation) Rakesh Sharma said.

Earlier, the news with regard to the suo motu contempt case against Sardesai was carried in the media based on the information available on the top court's website.

The Supreme Court website previously showed that it had registered a suo motu criminal contempt case against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai in connection with his tweets critiquing the judiciary in August 2020.

The complaint was reportedly filed by petitioner Aastha Khurana. Khurana, who hails from Panipat in Haryana, had highlighted multiple tweets by Sardesai to buttress her case for initiation of contempt proceedings against the journalist, reports Bar & Bench.

The petitioner referred to tweets by journalist’s posted on Twitter in July and August. The tweets from August pertain to remarks on the contempt case of lawyer Prashant Bhushan where he was fined Re 1.

Khurana also referred to older tweets in which Sardesai allegedly cast aspersions on Justice Arun Mishra, who had heard Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case, and former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, the Bar & Bench reported.

The plea sought an order initiating contempt proceedings against the respondent/contemnor for wilful and deliberate disobedience of the orders/judgements passed by the top court and to punish the respondent/contemnor in accordance with the law.

On 17 September, last year, the Attorney General while declining the consent to initiate contempt action has said, "I have gone through the tweets as well as the contents of your contempt petition in some details. The petition adverts to five tweets allegedly published by Shri Sardesai on his Twitter page. I am proceeding on the basis that the tweets referred to have in fact made."

"I have given careful consideration to the tweets. I find that the statements made by Shri Sardesai are not of so serious nature as to undermine the majesty of the Supreme Court or lower its stature in the minds of the public. The imputation of the Supreme Court as one of the great pillars of our democracy has been built assiduously over the last 70 years. Trifling remarks and mere passing criticism though perhaps distasteful are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution", Venugopal had said in a letter written to Parihar.

The consent of either the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is necessary, under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, for initiating contempt proceedings against a person.

With inputs from PTI

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