NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday (August 14) held advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for his alleged tweets on Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde and his four predecessors.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it would hear on August 20 the arguments on quantum of sentence to be awarded to Bhushan in the matter.
The apex court had on August 5 reserved its verdict in the matter after Bhushan had defended his two tweets, saying they were against the judges regarding their conduct in their personal capacity and they did not obstruct the administration of justice.
On July 22, the top court had issued a show-cause notice to Bhushan after initiating the criminal contempt against him after taking note of a petition.
While reserving the order in the contempt case, the top court had dismissed a separate petition filed by Bhushan seeking recall of the July 22 order by which the notice was issued against him in a contempt proceeding initiated for his alleged contemptuous tweets against the judiciary.
Bhushan had sought a direction to declare that the apex court’s secretary general has allegedly ‘acted unconstitutionally and illegally’ in accepting a ‘defective contempt petition’ filed against him, which was initially placed on the administrative side and later on the judicial side.
Referring to the judgement, the apex court said that it had meticulously followed the law in entertaining the contempt plea and it did not agree to the submission that it be sent to another bench for hearing.
Dave arguing for Bhushan in the contempt case had said, “The two tweets were not against the institution.”
In a 142-page reply affidavit, Bhushan stood by his two tweets and had said the expression of opinion, however outspoken, disagreeable or unpalatable to some, cannot constitute contempt of court.
Bhushan, in the affidavit, has referred to several apex court judgements, speeches of former and serving judges on contempt of court and the stifling of dissent in a democracy and his views on judicial actions in some cases.