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Prashant Bhushan Case

Prashant Bhushan is a public interest lawyer in Supreme Court of India.
He did two controversial tweets as following:
1st tweet did by Prashant Bhushan was that CJI rides a 50 lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental rights to access justice.

2nd tweet- When historian in future looks back at the least 6 years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the SC in this destruction, and more particularly the role of the last 4 CJI's.

The court took Suo moto reaction on the tweets of Prashant Bhushan. Court said that Bhushan's comments on twitter, the court has said in the notice issued to him on 5th august 2020.

“Have brought the administration of justice in disrepute and are capable undermining the dignity and authority of the institution and the office of the chief justice of India in particular.
The Supreme court on 14th august held advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt of court for tweets which it said were based on “distorted facts” constituted a scurrilous malicious attack on the entire supreme court and of responding firmly to unjustified attack.

Contempt of court- As per the contempt of court act 1971, contempt refers to the offence of showing disrespect to the dignity or authority of the court.
  1. Civil contempt:
    it is the willful disobedience of a court order or judgement or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
     
  2. Criminal contempt:
    The publication of any matter or doing an act which scandalize or lowers the authority of the court, prejudice or interferes with the due courses of judicial proceedings.
Any interferes or obstructs the administration of justice in any other manner.

Article 129 of constitution of India held that Supreme Court of India shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself.

“a court of record is defined as a court where the act and judicial proceedings are enrolled for a perpetual memorial and testimony which has power to fine and imprison for contempt of its authority.”

Suo moto power of the court:
Dr. DC.saxena vs. The honorable chief Justice of India.
In this case the court held that the court for the exercise of its contempt power the court need not to be approached by any person it can also exercise its power on its own.
Expressing “dismay” over the conviction of advocate Prashant Bhushan by Supreme Court in the contempt of court case, over 1500 lawyers from across the country, including senior members of the bar urged the top court to take corrective steps to prevent miscarriage of justice.

In the end the Supreme Court imposed a fined of rs1 on advocate Prashant Bhushan when the SC held him guilty for criminal contempt over its two tweets.

The bench lead by Justice Arun Mishra and also comprising Justice BR Garai and Krishna Murari said that it could have imposed the harsher punishment nut it was showing magnanimity.

Written by: Saksham Ahlawat - B.A.LL.B (hons) Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali

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