SC Issues Contempt Notice To Advocate Prashant Bhushan Over CBI Tweets

| February 6 , 2019 , 15:01 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from lawyer Prashant Bhushan on the contempt pleas filed by attorney general KK Venugopal and the Centre for his tweets alleging that the government had misled the court about the appointment of M Nageshwar Rao as the interim director of the CBI.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha said it would deal with the larger question of whether it is open for lawyers or any other person to criticise the court in a sub judice matter which would lead to influencing public opinion.

“This issue required to be heard in length, notice issued,” the bench said.

Bhushan, who was in court, has sought three weeks' time to file a reply. The case will be heard again on March 7.

Bhushan, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court, had tweeted his accusations against the government when petitions against Rao's appointment were pending in court.

The Centre said that the tweet “willfully and deliberately” made a false statement in a case being heard by the court.

Venugopal, in his contempt plea, referred to the extracts of the minutes of the meeting of the high powered selection committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Justice A K Sikri and leader of the largest opposition party Mallikarjun Kharge.

The Centre's plea also referred to the contents of Venugopal's petition and submitted that they be also read as part of its plea. Venugopal's petition referred to Bhushan's February 1 tweets in which he alleged that the government appeared to have misled the apex court and perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the meeting of the high-powered selection committee.