In a tight slap to Prashant Bhushan, the top court has held him guilty of contempt of court. The quantum of punishment will be decided on August 14
Bengaluru: Finally, the Supreme Court has held lobbyist Prashant Bhushan masquerading as intellectual guilt of contempt of court.
The lawyer had put out tweets lampooning Chief Justice of India and four former Chief Justices.
The order was pronounced by a three-judge bench of Supreme Court Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari.
The bench had observed while registering the case thus: "We are, prima facie, of the view that the aforesaid statements on Twitter have brought the administration of justice in disrepute and are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the Institution of Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of the public at large.”
Arguing for Prashant Bhushan, senior lawyer Dushyant Dave said to the court that Bhushan’s observations only highlighted certain shortcomings of the court and they can’t amount to contempt of court.
But the bench did not endorse the view.
The quantum of punishment will be decided on August 20.
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.
He is on the way... pic.twitter.com/P8eZwfGNcq— Pranab D (@debpranab) July 22, 2020
Well, as we go on delineating Bhushan’s transgressions, you may all wonder if he is not entitled to freedom of speech. Of course, he is. But to cast doubts on the integrity on the top court and its judges is surely not a good thing to do.
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Last Updated Aug 14, 2020, 12:55 PM IST