New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday queried Prashant Bhushan’s counsel why “justice was combined with some motorcycle”, in reference to one of the tweets over which the apex court issued notice to the lawyer on his alleged contemptuous remarks against the judiciary.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing Bhushan, contended before a bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, that the judges should see tweets by others, as some of them are very amusing. He argued that the content in Bhushan’s tweet is criticism.
“Why don’t you take it objectively… a senior judge, who went to become the Chief Justice of this court, had also criticised.”
Dave also told the bench that tweets did not hamper the administration of justice, and that fair criticism is not wrong.
He also said that scores of people have tweeted the photograph of the Chief Justice (S.A. Bobde) on the bike. “Somebody said Justice is riding on a bike…. are you going to call all of them,” he argued before the bench also comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari.
The apex court then reserved the order in the suo motu contempt case initiated against Bhushan for allegedly bringing the administration of justice in disrepute through two of his tweets.
It also dismissed the plea filed by Bhushan against its Secretary General for procedural irregularities in accepting the contempt petition with the sanction of the Attorney General. The plea had sought that the contempt notice be recalled.
On July 22, the apex court had issued notice to Bhushan on the alleged contemptuous remarks on Twitter. The top court also asked Attorney General K.K. Venugopal to assist it in the matter. A bench of Justices Mishra, Gavai and Krishna Murari asked Bhushan and Twitter to file a reply by August 5.
“We are, prima facie, of the view that the aforesaid statements on Twitter have brought the administration of justice in disrepute and are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the institution of the Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of public at large,” said the court in its order.
The Supreme Court initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Bhushan for allegedly making derogatory comments against the top court on Twitter, through his two tweets.
The first tweet, which was posted on June 27, alleged that the last four Chief Justices had played a role in the “destruction of democracy” during the “undeclared emergency” for the last six years. And the second tweet on June 29 allegedly said the present Chief Justice rode a stationary bike at Nagpur while keeping the apex court in lockdown and denying citizens their right to access justice.