Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking withdrawal of the contempt notice issued against him on July 22 over his alleged derogatory tweets against the judiciary and another order passed by the court on July 24 to list a case from 2009 for hearing.
Bhushan filed the petition against the secretary-general of the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution, which allows individuals to move the top court to seek redressal for the violation of their fundmental rights.
Bhushan contended that the complaint filed by advocate Mahek Maheshwari against him was defective. “It is submitted that the contempt petition filed by Mahek Maheshwari against the Petitioner pertaining to a tweet posted by the Petitioner on his Twitter handle was defective in as much as the consent of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General had not been obtained contrary to the mandate of Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 and Rule 3 (c) of the Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of the Supreme Court 1975,” Bhushan said, according to a copy of his petition accessed by Scroll.in.
Bhushan also argued that by taking note of Maheshwari’s complaint, the top court had ignored the requirement of taking the consent of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, and did “indirectly what the Court could not have directly”.
The advocate also accused the secretary-general of “illegally” putting the case before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and said that the chief justice is the “master of the roster”.
Bhushan argued that the contempt proceedings, initiated in disregard of the established law, amounted to a violation of his right to personal liberty. He added that the “sudden listing” of the 11-year old contempt case against him involved “malice in law”.
Earlier in the day, Bhushan, Union minister Arun Shourie and journalist N Ram filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, which the petitioners argue is “unconstitutional and against the basic structure of the Constitution”.
On July 21, the Supreme Court initiated suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against advocate Prashant Bhushan and social media platform Twitter India. The next day, the top court issued notices to Bhushan and Attorney General KK Venugopal for the lawyer’s alleged derogatory tweets against the judiciary. The case will be heard again on August 5.
The Supreme Court, on July 24, had adjourned the hearing of another contempt case against advocate Bhushan till August 4. Bhushan had made some remarks against Supreme Court judges in an interview to Tehelka magazine 11 years ago, in 2009. The contempt of court case was filed by advocate Harish Salve.