The Supreme Court of India took Suo Moto against Prashant Bhushan’s reckless behaviour on the social media and initiated contempt of Court case against him and Twitter India. The apex court issued a show-cause notice to the senior advocate asking him to explain why actions should not be taken against him on contempt of court charges. The court has also asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to assist the court, in the case, and a notice for the same has been issued to the AG. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra heard the suo moto case against Prashant Bhushan.
The court stated that the case been filed against Prashant Bhushan for his tweet on last 4 CJIs, and another tweet on CJI riding a bike.
Bhushan tweeted against CJI on 27th June and 29th June. Justice Mishra mentioned that these two tweets posted by Prashant Bhushan would be added as the base of contempt in the case. OpIndia is not publishing the tweet as reproducing something contemptuous is as good as contempt.
Justice Mishra said that the subject in the matter is the contempt case against Prashant Bhushan. His tweet was also carried out by Times of India. He said that a petition was filed in the court for contempt proceedings from the administrative side. They have checked the petition and allegations Bhushan made against CJI SA Bobde.
The court registered the case on 9th July 2020. A plea by Mahek Maheshwari, an advocate based in Guna, Madhya Pradesh, was filed against Prashant Bhushan on 2nd July seeking contempt proceedings against him and Twitter India for a tweet mentioning CJI SA Bobde riding a bike during his Nagpur visit.
[LIVE UPDATES: #SUOMOTU #contemptofcourt CASE HEARING AGAINST @pbhushan1 & @TwitterIndia— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) July 22, 2020
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Arun Mishra to shortly hear it’s Suo Motu contempt case against Advocate Prashant Bhushan and Twitter India#SupremeCourt pic.twitter.com/fiRnRq2zZL
In the plea, Maheshwari said that the tweet is of serious nature and he is questioning the sovereign functions of the CJI. “The remarks are too inhuman forgetting that how much Hon’ble CJI and the other justices are stretching themselves to ensure justice to the citizens that they allow hearing by Video Conferencing Mode and they are not even enjoying vacations properly,” Maheshwari added.
Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya who was appearing for Twitter India said that they had been impleaded incorrectly in the case. The correct party will be Twitter Inc of California. If the court passes an order to disable the tweets, they will oblige to it.
A correct notice will be sent out to Twitter Inc of California. Twitter India’s name as a party will be removed from the case. Twitter can file an application to present their side. Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya said that he would submit the reply in the next hearing.
Sajan Povvayya said that Twitter has nothing to defend in such cases, and they can disable the tweets if the courts order them to do so. To it the bench retorted asking why they can’t disable the tweets themselves after contempt proceedings have been initiated against them. The advocate said that they will intimate his client about the same.
The court has set 5th August as the next date for the hearing.
Bhushan is known for his PILs and controversial statements
This is not the first time Prashant Bhushan made such tweets. In March 2019, he admitted in front of the court that he made a mistake tweeting that the government appeared to have misled the Apex Court. He said he “accidentally” submitted fabricated minutes of the high-powered selection panel meeting for the appointment of M Nageshwara Rao as the interim chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In February that year, Attorney General KK Venugopal and Central government filed a contempt petition against Bhushan. However, AG later withdrew the petition stating Bhushan has agreed to accept his mistake in front of the court.
Bhushan had been in the news many times for all the wrong reasons. He had appeared for terrorists like Yakub Memon and called the day of his execution a sad day for India. He tried to stop the deportation of illegal Rohingyas. He often files irrelevant PILs in the supreme court. The court recently raised concerns over such PILs.