The Centre filed a contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, The Hindu reported, a day after Attorney General KK Venugopal filed a similar petition against the lawyer for accusing the Centre of misleading the top court regarding the appointment of Central Bureau of Investigation’s former interim chief M Nageswara Rao.
On February 1, Bhushan tweeted about the deliberations of the selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that was tasked with appointing a new CBI director after the removal of former chief Alok Verma. The lawyer, quoting a letter written by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, had hinted at the possibility of the government submitting fabricated minutes of the meeting of the committee to the Supreme Court.
Venugopal had submitted the minutes of the committee’s January 10 meeting in a sealed cover to a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.
The government argued that the tweets “wilfully and deliberately” made a false statement in a case being considered by the court. “Such an act by a counsel of making false and irresponsible allegations on a public platform, rather than raising his grievances, if any, before this honourable court, is grossly contumacious and warrants punishment by this court,” Live Law quoted the Centre as saying.
Venugopal is expected to mention the contempt petitions on Wednesday when the court hears NGO Common Cause’s petition against the appointment of Rao. Bhushan is Common Cause’s counsel.
The selection committee appointed former Madhya Pradesh Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla the new CBI chief on February 2. Shukla took charge of the investigation agency on Monday.