Well-known advocate-activist Prashant Bhushan posted two tweets which turned out to be controversial as the tweets were on the Supreme Court and the office of the Chief Justice of India. The Supreme Court noted that such ‘attacks’ against the judiciary may “affect the national honor and prestige in the comity of nations” if such issues are ignored.
The Supreme Court had initiated the motion of criminal contempt proceedings after an advocate filed a contempt petition against the lawyer Bhushan for two tweets he shared on June 27 and June 29. One was a tweet questioning Chief Justice of India SA Bobde riding a Harley-Davidson bike in Nagpur. On July 22, the top court had issued a show-cause notice to Bhushan after initiating the criminal contempt against him for his two tweets.
The hearing for the quantum of sentence will be held on August 20, stated a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari who were hearing the case. While reserving the order in the contempt case, the apex court had dismissed a separate petition filed by Bhushan seeking recall of the July 22 order by which the notice was issued against him in a contempt proceeding initiated for his alleged disrespectful tweets against the judiciary.
The three-judge bench stated that “The foundation of the judiciary is the trust and the confidence of the people in its ability to deliver fearless and impartial justice. When the foundation itself is sought to be shaken by acts which tend to create disaffection and disrespect for the authority of the court by creating distrust in its working, the edifice of the judicial system gets eroded.”
It further added, “The scurrilous/malicious attacks by the alleged Contemnor No1 (Prashant Bhushan) are not only against one or two judges but the entire Supreme Court in its functioning of the last six years. Such an attack which tends to create disaffection and disrespect for the authority of this Court cannot be ignored.”