On Monday, the Supreme Court in the Prashan Bhushan case decided to hold a detailed hearing on whether to accept the explanation and has ultimately decided to hear the case on merits in respect of the contempt case tendered by Advocate Prashant Bhushan taken against him in 2009.
The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra noted that it needs to examine if any statements alleging corruption against judges would per se amount to contempt.
On August 17, the bench will precede the hearings in the Prashant Bhushan Contempt Case
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari had reserved orders on whether to accept his explanation and said that it will proceed to hear the case in detail if his explanation was not found acceptable as on August 4.
The bench noted in the order that, “In case we do not accept the explanation/apology, we will hear the matter. We reserve the order.”
The bench during the hearing had asked Bhushan’s counsel Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, if he was willing to apologize.
Bhushan refused to tender an apology but agreed to issue the following note.
“In my interview to Tehelka in 2009 I have used the word corruption in a wide sense meaning lack of propriety. I 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.”Bhushan’s explanation through the press release issued by his office
Prashant Bhushan’s Contempt Case
On the basis of a complaint made by Senior Advocate Harish Salve, the suo moto case was considered.
The contempt proceedings pertain to allegations made by Salve towards Bhushan where Bhushan allegedly said that half of the last 16 Chief Justices were corrupt. Bhushan as per the complaint also said that he had no proof for the allegations in the interview.
Through an interlocutory application filed in the Sterlite case, the complaint was filed by Salve in which he was the Amicus Curiae.
The complaint was placed before a bench comprising the then Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice S H Kapadia on November 6, 2009 which directed that the matter be listed before a 3-judge bench in which Justice Kapadia was not a member.
A bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph and H L Dattu issued notices to Bhushan and Tarun Tejpal, the Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka magazine on January 19, 2010.