SC registry rejects intervention petition filed by civil society members in Prashant Bhushan contempt case

It said SC verdict in criminal contempt case against former Calcutta HC judge, Justice (Retd) CS Karnan, had stated that a contempt proceeding is “strictly between the court and an alleged contemnor”

Supreme Court of India (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Supreme Court of India (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
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NH Web Desk

The Supreme Court registry has refused to register an intervention application filed by social activist Aruna Roy and 15 other eminent civil society members in the contempt case against advocate Prashant Bhushan, legal news website BarandBench.com has reported.

The plea to intervene has been rejected by Registrar Deepak Jain citing observations made by the Supreme Court in the contempt case against former High Court judge, CS Karnan.

The Registrar's reply points out that the Supreme Court verdict in the criminal contempt case against former Calcutta High Court judge, Justice (Retd) CS Karnan, had stated that a contempt proceeding is "strictly between the court and an alleged contemnor".

Further, the court had held in that case that "anyone who enters appearance and disturbs the proceeding in near future" should remember that they can be "proceeded against in consonance with law."

Thus, citing the verdict, the Registry has refused to register the intervention application under Order XV Rule 5 of Supreme Court rules, 2013.

The top Court had earlier issued notice to Attorney General KK Venugopal and advocate Bhushan after the court took cognizance of certain tweets by Bhushan criticizing CJI SA Bobde and the judiciary.

Two tweets triggered the action. The first tweet pertained to Bhushan’s commentary on a picture of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on a high-end motorcycle, whereas in the second, Bhushan expressed his opinion on the role of last four CJIs amid the state of affairs in the country.

The intervention application stated that advocate Bhushan's tweets expressed an opinion which any “reasonable person can legitimately hold” and that the proceedings initiated by the top court were “manifestly unjust and unconstitutional for violation of rights under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.”

The applicants further submitted that the statements made by Bhushan in his tweets articulate some of the legitimate concerns already being raised by parts of civil society about "the reluctance of the Hon’ble Supreme Court to play its constitutionally mandated role as a check on governmental excesses and violations of fundamental rights of people by the State."

The applicants had also stated that they would soon file another writ petition challenging the constitutionality of the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act as well.

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