Suo Moto Contempt Case Registered by Supreme Court Against Prashant Bhushan and Twitter India

Suo Moto Contempt Case Registered by Supreme Court Against Prashant Bhushan and Twitter India

July 22, 2020, Wednesday

Anjana Gopinath

A Suo-moto contempt of court case was registered by the Supreme Court against Advocate Prashant Bhushan and Twitter India on Tuesday. The matter was brought before a bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murai today. The case was filed against them for questioning the Chief Justice of India for riding a bike in Nagpur.

The Lawyer, in his tweet in June, had stated that “CJI rides a 50-lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan, Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access Justice!” He had also tweeted a photograph of the CJI riding a Harley Davidson bike along with the statement.

The action against Twitter India was sought on the basis of its failure to block the tweet. The Counsel who appeared on behalf of Twitter India had informed the court that Twitter Inc. should have been impleaded in the matter instead, responding to which Justice Mishra stated that “Subject matter of the petition is a contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan. The tweet was carried by Times of India.” The Court also observed that Twitter Inc is the correct party in regard to the matter and not Twitter India.

The Apex Court issued notice to Prashant Bhushan and Twitter Inc in regards to the Suo-moto contempt case initiated against them. The Court also issued notice to K K Venugopal, Attorney General for India, seeking his opinion in the matter.

Previously in 2019, a contempt proceeding had been initiated against Prashant Bhushan for stating in his tweet that the government appeared to have misled the Supreme Court and had perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the high-powered selection panel meeting for the appointment of M Nageshwara Rao as the interim chief of CBI. Attorney General K.K Venugopal had filed a contempt plea on the basis of the same matter, following which the Central Government had also filed a contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan. However, the former later expressed that he would like to withdraw the plea stating that Prashant Bhushan is prepared to admit his mistake before the court. In March 2019, he had admitted that he had made a genuine mistake in tweeting the matter.

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