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Attorney General declines consent for contempt case against Prashant Bhushan

The AG KK Venugopal noted that it would not be in public interest to give consent for a contempt case based on a tweet as there was a following tweet expressing regret

Sabrangindia 30 Nov 2020

Prashant bhushan

Attorney General (AG) of India KK Venugopal has refused to grant consent for contempt proceedings against Advocate Prashant Bhushan over his tweets against the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde’s visit to Madhya Pradesh.

The AG said that Prashant Bhushan had already expressed his regret for making the impugned remarks against CJI Bobde by stating on Twitter that it was incorrect on his part to say that the fate of the Government of Madhya Pradesh depended on the case pending before the Chief Justice of India.

The consent of the topmost law officer was sought by one advocate Sunil Singh to initiate contempt proceedings against Bhushan for his tweet saying that Mr. Bhushan connected “the personal life of CJI with a pending case before him.”

The AG said he was initially of the mind to grant the consent to initiate proceedings for criminal contempt but after Bhushan’s tweet expressing regret, the AG was of this view and said, “I do not think that it would be in the public interest to give consent for proceedings on the basis of the original tweet in view of the subsequent tweet expressing regret. I accordingly decline consent.”

Background

On October 21, the lawyer activist Bhushan tweeted to say that the CJI used the special helicopter to visit the Kanha National Park even while “an important case of disqualification of defecting MLAs of MP (Madhya Pradesh) is pending before him”. He said that the survival of the Madhya Pradesh government depends on this case.

 

 

Subsequently, on November 4, he expressed his regret on the tweet and said, “Elections were held yesterday to seats of defecting Cong MLAs in MP who were made ministers in the Shivraj Govt. The survival of the Shivraj govt will depend on their re-election, not on the decision of the case in CJIs court challenging their ministership. I regret this error in my tweet below.”

 

 

In October 2020, Advocate Sunil Kumar Singh had written a letter to the AG against Bhushan’s tweet which had questioned the CJI for using a special chopper provided by the Madhya Pradesh Government, during the pendency of the case regarding disqualification of defecting MLAs of the state.

In his letter, AG Venugopal said, “I am of the opinion that the imputations contained in three tweets to the effect that the Chief Justice of India committed an act of impropriety in accepting facilities of the state of Madhya Pradesh during his visit to Kanha National Park while a case pertaining to the disqualification of certain members of the legislative assembly of MP was pending before him were wholly unwarranted, improper, devoid of legal basis and prima facie contumacious.”

However, keeping in mind the latest tweet by Bhushan, made the AG decline permission to initiate contempt proceedings against him. Defending CJI Bobde, the AG said the CJI is one of the highest constitutional functionaries in the country and is entitled to receive special arrangements as befits the stature of his office. He is entitled to be extended appropriate security, he added.

The AG also said that the CJI was visiting a Maoist-affected region, and that is why he was given the helicopter facility which was the most prudent and appropriate measure. Further he noted that the case pertaining to which Bhushan had passed those remarks had been withdrawn from the Supreme Court and it would be in public interest to give consent for initiation of contempt.

“The case pertaining to the disqualification of the erstwhile members of parliament in the state of Madhya Pradesh has now been withdrawn by the petitioner as having become infructuous. Sh. Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioner had made this representation to the Supreme Court which recorded “Learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner states that the matter has become infructuous. In view of the above, the special leave petition is disposed of as having become infructuous”, the AG stated.

Related:

Bhushan’s conviction for contempt has chilling effect on freedom of expression: ICJ

Stand up comic Kunal Kamra faces contempt charges for tweets

Kunal Kamra refuses to apologise for tweets about SC

Attorney General declines consent for contempt case against Prashant Bhushan

The AG KK Venugopal noted that it would not be in public interest to give consent for a contempt case based on a tweet as there was a following tweet expressing regret

Prashant bhushan

Attorney General (AG) of India KK Venugopal has refused to grant consent for contempt proceedings against Advocate Prashant Bhushan over his tweets against the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde’s visit to Madhya Pradesh.

The AG said that Prashant Bhushan had already expressed his regret for making the impugned remarks against CJI Bobde by stating on Twitter that it was incorrect on his part to say that the fate of the Government of Madhya Pradesh depended on the case pending before the Chief Justice of India.

The consent of the topmost law officer was sought by one advocate Sunil Singh to initiate contempt proceedings against Bhushan for his tweet saying that Mr. Bhushan connected “the personal life of CJI with a pending case before him.”

The AG said he was initially of the mind to grant the consent to initiate proceedings for criminal contempt but after Bhushan’s tweet expressing regret, the AG was of this view and said, “I do not think that it would be in the public interest to give consent for proceedings on the basis of the original tweet in view of the subsequent tweet expressing regret. I accordingly decline consent.”

Background

On October 21, the lawyer activist Bhushan tweeted to say that the CJI used the special helicopter to visit the Kanha National Park even while “an important case of disqualification of defecting MLAs of MP (Madhya Pradesh) is pending before him”. He said that the survival of the Madhya Pradesh government depends on this case.

 

 

Subsequently, on November 4, he expressed his regret on the tweet and said, “Elections were held yesterday to seats of defecting Cong MLAs in MP who were made ministers in the Shivraj Govt. The survival of the Shivraj govt will depend on their re-election, not on the decision of the case in CJIs court challenging their ministership. I regret this error in my tweet below.”

 

 

In October 2020, Advocate Sunil Kumar Singh had written a letter to the AG against Bhushan’s tweet which had questioned the CJI for using a special chopper provided by the Madhya Pradesh Government, during the pendency of the case regarding disqualification of defecting MLAs of the state.

In his letter, AG Venugopal said, “I am of the opinion that the imputations contained in three tweets to the effect that the Chief Justice of India committed an act of impropriety in accepting facilities of the state of Madhya Pradesh during his visit to Kanha National Park while a case pertaining to the disqualification of certain members of the legislative assembly of MP was pending before him were wholly unwarranted, improper, devoid of legal basis and prima facie contumacious.”

However, keeping in mind the latest tweet by Bhushan, made the AG decline permission to initiate contempt proceedings against him. Defending CJI Bobde, the AG said the CJI is one of the highest constitutional functionaries in the country and is entitled to receive special arrangements as befits the stature of his office. He is entitled to be extended appropriate security, he added.

The AG also said that the CJI was visiting a Maoist-affected region, and that is why he was given the helicopter facility which was the most prudent and appropriate measure. Further he noted that the case pertaining to which Bhushan had passed those remarks had been withdrawn from the Supreme Court and it would be in public interest to give consent for initiation of contempt.

“The case pertaining to the disqualification of the erstwhile members of parliament in the state of Madhya Pradesh has now been withdrawn by the petitioner as having become infructuous. Sh. Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioner had made this representation to the Supreme Court which recorded “Learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner states that the matter has become infructuous. In view of the above, the special leave petition is disposed of as having become infructuous”, the AG stated.

Related:

Bhushan’s conviction for contempt has chilling effect on freedom of expression: ICJ

Stand up comic Kunal Kamra faces contempt charges for tweets

Kunal Kamra refuses to apologise for tweets about SC

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