Supreme Court refers Prashant Bhushan's 2009 contempt case to another bench

Supreme Court refers Prashant Bhushan's 2009 contempt case to another bench
Activist and lawyer Prashant BhushanBCCL
During hearing a 2009 contempt case against advocate Prashant Bhushan, the Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that it is not only question of punishment but also faith in the institution that required detailed hearing and referred the matter to an appropriate bench.

The contempt case is in connection with Bhushan's comments on the judiciary during an interview to the Tehelka magazine in 2009.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra told senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Bhushan, that he must ponder that people come to court for relief, and when that faith is shaken then there is a problem.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for journalist Tarun Tejpal, contended before the bench that people come to court for justice and relief. "We will come and go but the institution exists forever. We must protect the integrity of the institution," submitted Sibal.

The bench said let the matter be listed on September 10 before an appropriate bench by the Chief Justice. "I am short of time. I am demitting office," Justice Mishra observed, who is scheduled to retire on September 2, citing the matter requires detailed hearing.


During the hearing, the top court observed that in this case in addition to the Attorney General, the assistance of some amicus is also required.

Dhavan asked the bench to issue notice to the Attorney General. "Let us leave this to an appropriate bench," Justice Mishra noted. Dhavan argued that the important question is how much of the court's free speech jurisprudence could be read into suo moto contempt powers?

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