Just a couple of months after activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan was convicted of contempt of court by the supreme court of India for his tweets, he has again posted a tweet that may invite fresh contempt charges against him. He has again targeted chief justice of India SA Bobde, accusing him of being partial towards the Shivraj Singh Chauhan govt in Madhya Pradesh. But like always, his accusations are based on lies.
On Wednesday, Prashan Bhushan posted a tweet the CJI has availed a special chopper provided by the Madhya Pradesh for a visit to Kanha National Park & then to his home town in Nagpur. Then he added that the CJI was visiting the state when an important case of disqualification of defecting MLAs of MP is pending before him. He said that survival of MP govt depends on this case, directly accusing the CJI of taking favours from the BJP govt in the state in return of a favourable judgement in that case.
Prashant Bhushan posted a copy of order by the state protocol officer of Madhya Pradesh to make necessary arrangements for the travel of the CJI by helicopter in the state from 17 October to 20 October. The order states that the CJI will be considered as a state guest.
Apart from the obvious contempt of court in the tweet posted by Bhushan, it is also based on lies. He accused that MP govt has provided a special chopper to the CJI, and tried to paint this as a favour done to CJI Bobde. That accusation is completely baseless, because the CJI is one of the top VVIPs in the country, and he is eligible for travel arrangements made by states whenever he visits any state.
According to the protocol of govt of India, any visit, official or unofficial, by the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Governors of other states and several other such VVIPs are considered as state visits. This means, whenever they visit the states, even on unofficial visits, their visits are considered as state visits and it is the responsibility of the respective state govts to arrange their travel and other logistics.
Therefore, by treating the CJI as a state guest, the Madhya Pradesh government is not giving any undue favour, they are just following the standard protocol. According to the state guest rules 2011 of Madhya Pradesh, Chief Justice of India is listed in the list-A of state guests, which means that the CJI will be provided security, accommodation, catering, transport etc facilities by the state govt as per the rules.
The allegation made by Prashant Bhushan that the CJI is visiting MP while important matters are pending before him is also baseless, because CJI Bobde is visiting his home state during holidays. According to the holiday calendar published by the Supreme Court of India, the court will remain closed from 19th October to 24th October due to Dussehra holidays. 17th was Saturday and 18th was Sunday, which means the CJI’s visit fell within weekends and official holidays, and no matter pending before the court is going to be affected by this visit.
Therefore, while the MP govt is providing transport facility to CJI Bobde as per existing norms and protocol, Prashan Bhushan needlessly linked the same with the MLA disqualification case to attack him again.