Bengaluru: PIL activist Prashant Bhushan is in the eye of a storm as the top court is hearing contempt petition against him. 

The issue dates back to the year 2009 in which Bhushan had made allegations against a judge of the top court.

As reported by a popular website, in an interview with Sona Chowdhury of Tehelka in September 2009, Prashant Bhushan had insinuated that Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia had committed ‘judicial impropriety’ by being a part of the forest Bench that heard the Niyamgiri Mining lease in Orissa and ruled in favour of Vedanta subsidiary Sterlite industries. 

It must be noted that the judge had made it clear that he had shares in Sterlite at the very beginning of the case. It should also be noted further that both parties had no qualms with this development. 

The website further adds Bhushan as saying, “In my view, out of the last 16 to 17 Chief Justices, half have been corrupt. I can’t prove this, though we had evidence against Punchhi, Anand, and Sabharwal on the basis of which we sought their impeachment”.

Furthermore, he had said, “This is also for the reason that no investigation is allowed into charges of corruption against the higher judiciary. There is no disciplinary authority which can inquire into or take action against judges who have been charged with corruption any other kind of misconduct.”

A note on Bhushan’s tweets: 

Prashant Bhushan has been in the dock for several of his tweets which express his disappointment over the top court. Well, disappointment is fine, but his reactions can also be taken as casting aspersions on the top court.

One of them is a tweet in support of Varavara Rao, an activist. In the tweet, as per a website, he had said that the accused in the Elgar Parishad case had been denied bail on several occasions and suggested that his death would be a case of ‘judicial murder’.

In another case, he had questioned Union minister Prakash Javdekar as he watched Ramayana during the migrant crisis. The top court had chided Prashant Bhushan for his remarks and added that anyone is free to watch anything he wants.

In relation to overcrowding of jails, Bhushan had filed a PIL in the top court, but the top court refused to hear it and asked him to approach high courts. The top court even warned him to withdraw his plea or else, he would be fined.

Even during the time when the migrant issue had hit the headlines, Bhushan doubted the top court. So one of the judges hearing the case even asked him as to why he approached the top court when he doesn’t trust it.

There are several other instances in which Prashant Bhushan has expressed doubts on the integrity of the top court as well as its judges.

Instances would be how he behaved when the top court refused to reopen Justice Loya case, or the top court refusing to have a relook into the Ayodhya case or Bhushan telling former CJI Ranjan Gogoi that he was acting like an agent of the Central government.

But the last nail in the coffin was how Prashant Bhushan made fun of CJI Arvind Bobde as he posed on a high-end bike in Nagpur.

It is also further interesting to note the contradictory behaviour of Bhushan when circumstances or judgements are in his favour and vice-versa.

For example, when former CJI Ranjan Gogoi held a presser along with other judges against another former CJI Dipak Misra, Bhushan and his coterie hailed him. But after the Ayodhya verdict, in which all the five judges ruled unanimously in favour of Hindus, Prashant Bhushan and his ilk began deriding him. It is the same case with another judge justice DY Chandrachud as well.

In another video that went viral, Prashant Bhushan had thrown his weight around and intimidating a guard by saying he is a top lawyer of the Supreme Court.