After Attorney General KK Venugopal earlier denied consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against actor Swara Bhaskar, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has followed suit.
In a letter declining consent, SG Mehta has said that since AG Venugopal has already denied consent, such a request “was misconceived.”
Petitioner Usha Shetty had sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the actor before the Supreme Court, writing to the two top law officers for their consent, as is required under the Contempt of Courts Act.
Referring to the first part of Bhasker’s statements that the petitioner before the Supreme Court asserted is contemptuous, AG Venugopal said,
“The comment refers to the judgment of the Supreme Court, and is not an attack on the institution. This does to offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself or say anything that would scandalise or tend to scandalise, or lower or tend to lower the authority of the Court. In my opinion, this statement does not constitute criminal contempt.”
The AG’s consent was sought in line with the requirement under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act read with Rule (3) of the rules concerning contempt proceedings before the Supreme Court.
The petitioner claims that Swara Bhaskar has made “derogatory and scandalous” statements against the Supreme Court during her speech.
The statements in question were allegedly made by Swara Bhaskar at an event hosted by the “Mumbai Collective”. They pertained to the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case.
In his response, the AG had added that the statement made by Swara Bhaskar that “We are now in a situation where are courts are not sure whether they believe in the constitution” is a vague statement and is general that no one would take note of it.
After the AG’s denial, the petitioner sought permission from SG Mehta under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, read with Rule 3 of the Rules To Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court, 1975.