SC holds Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt for tweets against court

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court held lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt for tweets against the court, and chief justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it would hear on August 20 the arguments on quantum of sentence to be awarded to Bhushan in the matter.

Bhushan had posted two tweets, one on the Supreme Court on June 27 and the second one on CJI Bobde on June 29. He was served notice by the apex court on July 22.

The top court had on August 5 reserved its verdict in the matter after Bhushan defended his two alleged contemptuous tweets saying they were against the judges regarding their conduct in their personal capacity and they did not obstruct administration of justice.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave had submitted that Bhushan was only airing bona fide criticism against the judiciary without any malice.

Replying to the contempt notice in a detailed affidavit, Bhushan had stated that expression of bona fide opinion about the Court cannot amount to contempt.He submitted that there were several shortcomings in the functioning of the judiciary, which warranted criticism.

On July 22, the top court had issued a show cause notice to Bhushan after initiating the criminal contempt against him after taking note of a petition.

Another suo motu contempt petition is also pending before the same three-judge bench against Bhushan for calling past CJIs corrupt in a 2009 interview to Tehelka magazine. Bhushan had offered an explanation but the Supreme Court refused to accept the same and ruled, on August 10, that it will hear the matter in detail. That case is now listed for hearing on August 17.

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