Supreme Court: Prashant Bhushan’s Tweet Brought Disrepute to the Administration of Justice

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The Supreme Court on 22nd July 2020, took a Suo Motu case (on its own motion). The Court took action on the application filed by Advocate Mahek Maheshwari. The prayer was to take action against inappropriate Tweets posted by Prashant Bhushan.

Facts of the Case

Prashant Bhushan posted two Tweets on his personal Twitter handle which were: 

“When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal Emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the Supreme Court in this destruction, & more particularly the role of the last 4 CJIs”. This tweet was published on June 27.

“CJI rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access Justice!”. This tweet was published on June 29.

The application prayed for initiation of contempt proceedings against Prashant Bhushan and Twitter. The tweets he stated were “malafide” and also “offensive”. 

The application stated that: 

The remarks are too inhuman forgetting that how much the Hon’ble CJI and other justices are stretching themselves to grant justice to the justice to the citizen that they allow hearing over video Conferencing mode. They are not enjoying vacations properly”.

It stated that the tweets encouraged a feeling of non-confidence in the Judiciary. This led to “scandalizing the court”. This amounts to criminal contempt under the Contempt Of Courts Act, 1971.

Court’s Observation

A Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari heard the matter. The Bench stated that it is of the prima facia view that:

The aforesaid statements on Twitter have brought the administration of justice in disrepute are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the Institution of Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of public at large.”

The Bench stated listing will be after examining case on the Administration side. Passing of appropriate Orders will happen at such listing date. The Bench also directed Twitter to file its reply.

The Court fixed the date on 5th August 2020 for further hearing.


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