Supreme Court Reserves Order On Continuing 2009 Contempt Case Against Prashant Bhushan
The Supreme Court reserved its order on whether to continue with the contempt case initiated against Prashant Bhushan in 2009 over his remarks in an interview with the Tehelka magazine.
‘’We have heard learned counsel for the parties at some length. Explanation/apology submitted by Mr. Prashant Bhushan/Respondent No.1 and Mr. Tarun Tejpal/Respondent No.2, have not been received so far," the court said in its order. "In case, we do not accept the explanation/apology, we will hear the matter. We reserve the order."
The case came up for hearing on Monday in front of the bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Krishna Murari.
Bhushan expressed conditional regret over his remarks and said his use of word corruption was used in a wider sense to mean lack of propriety and did not mean only financial corruption or deriving any pecuniary advantage.
If what I have said caused hurt to any of them or to their families in any way, I regret the same. I unreservedly state that I support the institution of the judiciary and especially the Supreme Court of which I am a part, and had no intention to lower the prestige of the judiciary in which I have complete faith. I regret if my interview was misunderstood as doing so, that is, lower the reputation of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, which could never have been my intention at all.Prashant Bhushan, Advocate
The case was first registered in on Nov. 10, 2009 on an application by Senior Advocate Harish Salve, and Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani representing Bhushan contested on the maintainability of the petition.
Jethmalani had argued the application on which the proceedings appeared to have been based did not have the consent of the attorney general for India or the solicitor general and, therefore, was not maintainable.
In an interview with the Tehalka magazine, Bhushan had said at the time that half of the last 16 chief justices were corrupt. The top court bench had then issued notice to Bhushan and Tejpal, then editor of the Tehelka.
In July 2010, the top court found the objection on maintainability to be without any basis and directed for the listing of the case to be heard on the merits. After that, the case came up for hearing until May 2012, and was listed on July 24, 2020.
During the hearing on Monday, the lawyers sought an adjournment and the court directed for it to be listed on Aug. 4. Bhushan was represented by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan and Tejpal was represented by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal.
The court, after receiving Bhushan’s response, will decide whether to accept his response or hear the matter.