New Delhi (Sputnik): In June, Prashant Bhushan commented about a viral photograph of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde sitting on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Bhushan has often been in the news for his strong statements on corruption and the Indian judiciary as well as the top court’s handling of the migrant worker crisis during the COVID lockdown.
In one of the most keenly watched cases regarding contempt of court, one of India’s top lawyers Prashant Bhushan was found guilty on Friday by the country’s Supreme Court.
The order was passed by a three judge bench of justices consisting of Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai, and Krishna Murari while hearing a petition initiated by the court on its own motion after taking note of two tweets posted by Senior Advocate Bhushan.
The matter will now be heard on 20 August so as to decide on Bhushan’s sentencing.
India’s apex court had initiated a suo motu case against the senior advocate over his two tweets made in June this year.
Madhya Pradesh-based advocate Mahek Maheshwari had filed a contempt petition against Bhushan and Twitter India in July over a tweet pertaining to Chief Justice of India Bobde on a Harley motorcycle.
«CJI rides a INR 5 million ($66,860) motorcycle belonging to a Bharatiya Janaa Party leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the Supreme Court in lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice!», Bhushan’s tweet read.
While the other tweet stated: «When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the Supreme Court in this destruction, & more particularly the role of the last 4 CJIs».
Meanwhile, Friday’s verdict comes a day after the country’s two most reputed journalists N. Ram and Arun Shourie, as well as attorney Prashant Bhushan withdrew a writ petition they had filed with the country’s Supreme Court.
The three individuals had moved a plea in light of the top court initiating criminal contempt proceedings against Senior Advocate Bhushan over two tweets, and deciding to hear a 2008 criminal contempt case against him for alleged remarks against the judiciary during a Tehelka magazine interview.
Their plea had challenged the validity of some provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, one of the most powerful statutes in the country. The Act is related to defining and limiting the powers of certain courts in punishing contempt of court and to regulate their method in relation thereto.
On Thursday, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had allowed the three to withdraw their writ petition with liberty to move to another appropriate forum other than the Supreme Court for relief.