2009 Prashant Bhushan contempt case back in the spotlight as Supreme Court poses new questions

2009 Prashant Bhushan contempt case back in the spotlight as Supreme Court poses new questions
Activist and lawyer Prashant BhushanBCCL
The Supreme Court on Monday framed a larger question during the hearing of the 2009 contempt case against advocate Prashant Bhushan. It asked when could corruption allegations against the judges be made public?

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari posed the following questions -under what circumstances, public statements in connection with corruption of judges can be made, and what procedure should be adopted if such statements of corruption were made in public against sitting as well as retired judges?

In 2009, Bhushan, in an interview to Tehleka magazine alleged that at least half of the last 16 Chief Justices of India were corrupt.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing journalist Tarun Tejpal, sought a quietus to the case. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Prashant Bhushan, also agreed on closure on the case, but argued that one cannot go to the press, is a bad decision and needs a review.

The bench noted that putting a quietus is not the issue and cited the questions. "We want to hear, because if the questions are left then it will not be better for later on", noted the bench.


Dhavan contended that questions are meaningful, and they should be considered by a larger bench. Justice Mishra replied that this aspect would also be considered. The top court adjourned the matter till August 24.

On August 10, the Supreme Court had said that it will hear in detail whether any comment on corruption against judges tantamounts to contempt of court or not, adding that it will hear the 2009 contempt case against lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had said that it has decided to hear whether the remarks made by Bhushan against the higher judiciary in a Tehelka magazine interview is "per se contempt".

"Before reaching to any finding whether the statement made as to 'Corruption' would per se amount to Contempt of Court, the matter is required to be heard", said the bench.

Earlier, the apex court had said it would go on to hear the case if "we do not accept the explanation/apology of Bhushan".

On August 4, the Supreme Court had said it had not received the apology submitted by Bhushan and reserved its order in the 2009 contempt case against him.

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