The Supreme Court has held advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for his tweets against Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Supreme Court.A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said Bhushan was found to have committed “serious” contempt, and the hearing for punishment in the case will be held on August 20.
The punishment for contempt of court can go up to six months in jail, or fine, or both.The top court on August 5 had reserved its verdict in the matter after Bhushan defended his two alleged contemptuous tweets saying they were against the judges regarding their conduct in their personal capacity and they did not obstruct administration of justice.
On July 22, the top court had issued a show cause notice to Bhushan after initiating the criminal contempt against him for his two tweets. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave had submitted that Bhushan was only airing bona fide criticism against the judiciary without any malice.Replying to the contempt notice in a detailed affidavit, Bhushan had stated that expression of bona fide opinion about the Court cannot amount to contempt.He submitted that there were several shortcomings in the functioning of the judiciary, which warranted criticism.
Bhusnhan said that his comment on CJI SA Bobde for his photo in which he was seated on a Harley Davidson motorcycle was meant to underline his angusih at the non-physical functioning of the Supreme Court for over three months, “as a result of which fundamental rights of citizens, such as those in detention, those destitute and poor, and others facing serious and urgent grievances were not being addressed or taken up for redressal”.
The bench, also including Justices B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, prima facie, observed that his tweets “have brought disrepute to the administration of justice and are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of general public”.