After CJI Slams Unrestrained Criticism of Judges, SC to Take Up Contempt Plea Against Prashant Bhushan Today
File photo of activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan (Image: PTI)
While hearing a bunch of petitions on Vikas Dubey’s encounter killing case, CJI Bobde had criticised the 'tendency' and 'attitude' of lawyers casting aspersion or suggesting malafide against serving and retired judges without any substantiation.
- Last Updated: July 22, 2020, 10:21 IST
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On Monday, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde had come down heavily on unrestrained criticism of serving and retired judges of the constitutional courts, saying: “Enough is enough.”
Two days later, the Supreme Court is set to examine a criminal contempt petition against renowned activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan over his two tweets, in particular, that purportedly targeted the present and the former CJIs.
A three-judge bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, will take up the suo motu criminal contempt plea against Bhushan and Twitter India for the contentious social media posts. The bench, also has Justice BR Gavai – in line to become a CJI in future, and Justice Krishna Murari.
The decision to list the matter for hearing was taken on Tuesday, following which the matter was allotted to the bench, headed by Justice Mishra.
Before the top court decides to issue a formal show-cause notice of criminal contempt, the bench is expected to seek presence and assistance of Attorney General KK Venugopal during the proceedings, which will be conducted through video-conferencing.
On Monday, while hearing a bunch of petitions on Vikas Dubey’s encounter killing case, CJI Bobde had criticised the “tendency” and “attitude” of lawyers casting aspersion or suggesting malafide against serving and retired judges without any substantiation.
“Enough is enough. We will not tolerate this anymore. What is this tendency of saying objectionable things about judges without any basis? This must stop now,” the CJI had told advocate Vishal Tiwari, one of the petitioners in the case. “This attitude of mud-slinging at all must stop some time,” he had added.
On July 10, Justice Bobde had observed that “social media can be used by a person like a gun in his hand”. The bench headed by him was at that time hearing a Congress leader’s plea requesting the court to do away with the condition of bail that asked him to stay away from social media at least for 18 months.
Earlier also, while hearing a PIL relating to removal of porn videos from the social media platforms, the CJI had remarked that “various things” were being posted about the Supreme Court and its judges.
Days before taking over as the chief in November last year, Justice Bobde, in his interviews, had said that it bothers him when he sees judges feeling “harassed” due to their unrestrained criticism on social media, and finds the attack difficult to ignore.
“They are not only scandalising but tearing apart people's reputation and judges' reputation,” he had said while adding that criticism of judges, instead of judgements, amounts to defamation as well.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the court will take up another contempt petition against Bhushan, pending since 2009. This related to Bhushan reportedly criticising two former CJIs in his interview to a magazine. While the top court had ruled in 2010 that the contempt proceedings were maintainable, it did not hear the case after May 2012. It will also be heard by a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.