New Delhi: Hours after updating its website that it has registered a suo moto contempt against senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai for tweeting against the top court, the Supreme Court on late Tuesday evening clarified that it has not initiated any criminal contempt of court against him.
The clarification from the top court came after news items were flashed on initiating suo moto criminal contempt proceeding against Sardesai by the top court on a petition by one Aastha Khurana. “This is in context with news item being flashed in some news channels about initiating suo moto criminal contempt proceeding against Rajdeep Sardesai by Supreme court, it is made clear that no such proceeding has been initiated against Rajdeep Sardesai. However, status shown at Supreme Court website vide case no. SMC (Crl) 02/2021 has been placed inadvertently. Appropriate action to rectify the same is under process,” said a top court senior official.
Speaking to IANS, Khurana’s advocate Omprakash Parihar that the status of the case was uploaded on the top court website. He added that this mistake from the top court registry is unexplainable.
In September last year, the Attorney General K K Venugopal had declined to give consent to initiate criminal contempt against Sardesai. According to Khurana’s lawyer, after the AG’s refusal, the petitioner filed a fresh petition in the top court, which was registered as criminal contempt case on February 13, this year, as per the top court website.
The petitioner had contended that Sardesai’s statement is not only a cheap publicity stunt but a deliberate attempt to spread hatred in form of anti-India campaign on to protest and resist in every way against the top court and judiciary as a machinery. “That the Contemnor tweet is of serious nature putting a big question on sovereign function of Supreme Court and their abiding nature to the Constitution,” said the plea.
The petitioner cited tweet by Sardesai, published in August 2020, where he had criticized the one-rupee penalty imposed on advocate Prashant Bhushan in the contempt of court; and another tweet citing that the top court cannot debar any lawyer from practice.
The plea said later this tweet was deleted by him, but it has got huge media publicity and has again questioned the fairness of the top court, which is again a big threat to the Judiciary.
The plea contended that it is evident that Sardesai has disrespected the decision of the top court with impunity. “The Respondent (Sardesai) has wilfully disobeyed the decision of this Hon’ble Court and their conduct is contumacious. Therefore, a serious view of the conduct of the Respondent is required to be taken for ensuring proper administration of justice,” said the plea.