'Prashant Bhushan's tweets bring disrepute to judiciary': SC initiates suo motu contempt proceedings
The Supreme Court also asked Prashant Bhushan to explain as 'why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him over his tweets on judiciary'
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to advocate Prashant Bhushan on the suo motu contempt proceeding against him, saying that the activist-lawyer "brought administration of justice into disrepute" and his tweets are "capable of undermining the dignity and authority of SC and office of CJI", reports said.
According to LiveLaw, the Supreme Court has also asked Bhushan to justify to the court "as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him over his tweets on judiciary".
SC says it prima facie is of the view that the two tweets by adv. #PrashantBhushan have brought disrepute to the administration of justice and could undermine, in the eyes of the public, the dignity and authority of the Supreme Court in general and the CJI’s office in particular. pic.twitter.com/tvEEM1gilk
— The Leaflet (@TheLeaflet_in) July 22, 2020
The allegedly contemptuous tweets were critical of the top court and posted by Bhushan on Twitter on 27 and 29 June. In one of the tweets, the advocate has criticised CJI SA Bobde. He had tweeted: "CJI rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access Justice! (sic)"
CJI rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access Justice! pic.twitter.com/PwKOS22iMz — Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) June 29, 2020
Bhushan has been raising issues pertaining to judiciary and recently he was very critical of the way in which the top court handled the matters related to migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bhushan had slammed the apex court, saying:
When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal Emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the Supreme Court in this destruction, & more particularly the role of the last 4 CJIs
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) June 27, 2020
The bench, which asked the Attorney General to assist in the matter, posted the case for hearing on 5 August.
According to news agency PTI, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also observed that initially the contempt issue was placed before the administrative side of the apex court but it was directed to be listed on the judicial side.
Twitter Inc made party to case, offers to remove tweets
The apex court also directed that Twitter INC be made a party, instead of Twitter India, to the contempt proceedings it has initiated suo motu (on its own) and asked the US-based firm to file a response in the matter.
The bench was told by Twitter's counsel that if the top court directs, then the firm would disable the alleged contemptuous tweets of Bhushan.
Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, appearing for Twitter, told the bench that Twitter India has wrongly been made a party in the matter and it should have been Twitter INC.
The bench, while noting that the correct party in the matter should be Twitter INC and not Twitter India, permitted the company to file an appropriate application in this regard.
SC to hear older contempt of court case against Bhushan on 24 July
This, however, is not the first time Bhushan had openly criticised the apex court and siting members of the judiciary.
Earlier also, the apex court in November 2009, had issued contempt notice to Bhushan for allegedly casting aspersions on some sitting and former top court judges in an interview to a news magazine.
The matter which was not heard by the apex court as per the record available on the top court's website since May 2012 is now listed for hearing on July 24.
It is schedule to be heard by a bench headed by Justice Mishra on Friday as per the list of business of July 24, uploaded on the apex court website.
With inputs from PTI
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