February 06, 2019:
On Monday, Attorney General K K Venugopal filed a contempt petition in SC against Activist Lawyer Prashant Bhushan for allegedly scandalising the Top Court with his recent tweets on the appointment of Former Interim Chief of CBI M Nageswara Rao.
The contempt petition refered to the Feb 1 tweets by Bhushan in which he allegedly said that the Government appeared to have misled the Apex Court and perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the meeting of the high-powered Selection Committee headed by the Prime Minister.
Venugopal, in his petition, said Bhushan deliberately intended to cast aspersions on the integrity and honesty of the Attorney General who had placed the minutes of the meeting before the Apex Court during the Feb 1 hearing.
During the Feb 1 hearing, Venugopal had in a sealed cover placed before the bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, the minutes of the meeting of the Selection Committee which was held last month for appointing the new CBI Chief.
Venugopal had informed the bench that the Centre had taken the permission of the Committee to appoint Rao as an interim CBI Director.
The Centre too had filed a contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan in the Supreme Court on the following day to Attorney General K K Venugopal.
On Wednesday, Advocate and Activist Prashant Bhushan was served a notice by the Supreme Court on a contempt petition filed by the Attorney General & Centre.
A bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Naveen Sinha said it would deal with the larger question of whether it is open for lawyers or any other person to criticize the Court in a sub judice matter which would lead to influencing public opinion.
The notice was served after Centre objected to Bhushan making contemptuous remarks against the judiciary and the Supreme Court.
The Top Court has slammed Bhushan for passing comments on a sub-judice matter and subsequently served him a notice.
The Court said,”We are not averse to media reporting on court proceedings but the lawyers involved in a case should resist from making a public statement in a sub-judice matter. It has now become common that lawyers appearing in case making a statement and participate in a debate in a sub-judice matter.”
While issuing the notice, the Court also observed that punishment to a Lawyer should be the last thing to do.
The Court said,”Contempt is Brahmasthra and it should not be used frequently. This issue required to be heard in length, notice issued,”
The bench listed the matter for further hearing on March 7.
Bhushan, present in Court, accepted the notice and sought three weeks time to file a reply.