Supreme Court initiates suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against Prashant Bhushan, hearing today

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Updated: July 22, 2020 9:57 AM

Supreme Court initiates proceedings on a suo motu criminal contempt case against noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

Prashant Bhushan criminal contempt lawyer Prashant Bhushan faces Supreme Court criminal contempt today

The Supreme Court has initiated proceedings on a suo motu criminal contempt case against noted lawyer and former Aam Aadmi Party member Prashant Bhushan. The hearing in the top court will begin today.

The matter will be heard by a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari. Twitter India has also been made a party in the case, reports said.

The matter apparently pertains to some tweets made by Prashant Bhushan criticial of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and the Supreme Court. Bhushan has in the past criticised the incumbent CJI for shutting down the court during the lockdown and denying the common man their fundamental right to access the judiciary for justice. However, it is not immediately clear which tweet has drawn the suo motu case against Bhushan by the top court.

Bhushan had also tweeted on the CJI’s picture showing him sitting on a luxurious bike in Nagpur. The picture had gone viral on social media platforms.

According to media reports, the lawyer had earlier accused past four Chief Justices India (CJIs) of playing a role in what he termed as the “destruction of democracy during an “undeclared emergency” in the last six years.

When Prashant Bhushsn was asked about the criminal contempt proceedings, he said, “I don’t know the reasons for the contempt against me.”

A criminal contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan is already pending since 2009. The 2009 matter pertains to statements by him against former CJIs and then Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia in an interview to Tehelka magazine.

According to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court can either be civil contempt or criminal contempt. While Civil contempt means wilful disobedience to any judgment of a court, criminal contempt means the publication of any matter or doing of any which scandalises or lowers or tends to lower the authority of court.

The Act has a provision of punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 2,000 or both.

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