Lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Thursday told the Supreme Court that he had made a “genuine mistake” by tweeting the Centre had placed fabricated documents in court about the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as an interim chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation, PTI reported.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, who had filed a contempt plea against Bhushan, told the court that he would like to withdraw the plea in view of Bhushan’s statement, PTI reported. He reiterated in the court that he did not want Bhushan to face punishment for the contempt plea.
The Supreme Court, while hearing the case, had dismissed Bhushan’s application seeking that Justice Arun Mishra recuse himself from hearing the contempt plea, reported ANI. Bhushan refused to give an unconditional apology before the court for seeking Mishra’s recusal.
The top court said it would consider the larger issue of whether a person can criticise a court in a matter that is sub judice to influence public opinion, according to PTI. The matter was then listed for hearing on March 29.
The Centre had filed contempt pleas against Bhushan for accusing the government of misleading the top court regarding Rao’s appointment as CBI interim chief.
On February 1, Bhushan had 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 in a sealed cover to the bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra. The attorney general accused Bhushan, who had moved the Supreme Court challenging Rao’s appointment, of intentionally raising doubts about his integrity and honesty.