Plea before SC on contempt notice to Bhushan for tweets

While issuing the notice to Bhushan, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra had expanded the scope of the contempt petition to include an examination of whether in matters which are sub-judice, advocates and litigants, briefing the media would amount to an inter

A group of eminent citizens has approached the Supreme Court to intervene into a contempt notice issued to advocate Prashant Bhushan on February 6 on the basis of two applications filed by the Union government and Attorney General for his tweets on proceedings related to appointment of M Nageswara Rao as interim CBI director.

“Any restraint on lawyers and litigants on commenting on pending court proceedings in matters of public interest would have a seriously deleterious impact on not merely the freedom of speech of lawyers and litigants but also on the right of the people and civil society to be informed,” their plea contended.

Those who filed intervention applications are Aruna Roy, Wajahad Habibullah, Nikhil Dey, Arundhati Roy, Harsh Mander, Jayati Ghose, Prabhat Patnaik, Indu Prakash Singh, Shailesh Gandhi and Bezwada Wilson.

A group of senior journalists namely Arun Shourie, Mrinal Pande, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Manoj Mitta and N Ram filed a separate plea. They contended the media airing views of the lawyers and litigants would have the least effect on the mind of the judge as opposed to other people who not being involved in the case at hand.

While issuing the notice to Bhushan, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra had expanded the scope of the contempt petition to include an examination of whether in matters which are sub-judice, advocates and litigants, briefing the media would amount to an interference in the course of administration of justice.

Attorney General K K Venugopal and the Union Government by two separate applications sought contempt proceedings against Bhushan for his tweets of February 1.

Bhushan had then accused Venugopal of furnishing a "fabricated" document on minutes of the high-powered selection panel with regard to the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director. The court had then put the matter for further consideration on March 7.

Subsequently, Bhushan has filed an application for "recall" of the contempt notice claiming two applications were listed before the bench led by Justice Mishra, bypassing the authority of the Chief Justice of India as the master of the roster.

"The order passed by a bench of Justices Mishra and Navin Sinha is liable to be set aside as being without jurisdiction and ineffective in law," an application filed by him stated.

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Plea before SC on contempt notice to Bhushan for tweets

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