SC Holds Lawyer Prashant Bhushan Guilty Of Contempt For Tweets Againt Judiciary

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday held activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt for his two derogatory tweets against the judiciary. The case was taken up suo moto by the court based on two of Bhushan’s tweets, after a complaint filed by one Mahek Maheshwari.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it would hear on August 20 the arguments on quantum of sentence to be awarded to Bhushan in the matter.

The apex court had on August 5 reserved its verdict in the matter after Bhushan had defended his two 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 show cause notice to Bhushan after initiating the criminal contempt against him after taking note of a petition.

The tweets in question were critical of the top court and posted by Bhushan on Twitter on June 27 and June 29.

“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,” Bhushan's June 27 tweet read. The bench said that this tweet was also published by leading daily the Times of India.

In his June 29 tweet, it included a photo of CJI S.A. Bobde riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and read, “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!”

On Monday, The Supreme Court rejected Bhushan's regret for his 2009 statement that half of 16 former CJIs were corrupt. The apex court said that further hearing in this criminal contempt case against Bhushan and journalist Tarun Tejpal is required. The matter has been posted for hearing on August 17.

In November 2009, the SC had issued contempt notice to Bhushan and Tejpal for casting aspersions on some sitting and former top court judges in an interview to a news amagazine. Tarun Tejpal was the editor of the magazine.

On August 4, the SC said that it would hear the case against them and it has not accepted their "explanation" or "apology" into the matter.

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