Centre wants Prashant Bhushan punished, says his CBI tweet amounts to contempt of court
Two contempt petitions have been filed against advocate Prashant Bhushan for his tweet which alleged the government misled the apex court in the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as interim CBI chief
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to advocate Prashant Bhushan on contempt petitions filed by Attorney General K K Venugopal and the Centre over tweets alleging that the top legal officer had misled the court on M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it would address the larger issue of the extent of media discussion in cases that were sub judice and observed that the practice of making statements to the media by lawyers about cases had become common.
“Freedom carries responsibility. What if bar is out to kill the judiciary? That’s what it looks like. Judiciary has to be protected from outside, not from insiders. Some lawyers seem to be carrying a dagger to kill the judiciary. When we haven’t fully decided the issue and lawyers make statements to the media, it can affect the public mind and efficacy of the court,” Mishra added while asking Bhushan to file its reply in three weeks. He slated hearing on March.
Venugopal told the court that he did not want any particular punishment for Bhushan, but there should be a restriction on the extent that a lawyer could go to while making a public statement on a pending case.
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, sought deterrent punishment for the lawyer, saying Bhushan has a habit of attacking the judges and bringing down esteem of judiciary in the public eye.
The top court was hearing two contempt pleas against Bhushan. One was brought by Venugopal over Nageswara Rao’s appointment. The second plea was filed by the Centre, which claimed he had wilfully and deliberately made a false statement in a pending case.