New Delhi: When the Supreme Court initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Twitter India on Tuesday, its announcement did not say which specific tweets it had a problem with. A lawyer named Anuj Saxena, though, has said that he filed an application against Bhushan on behalf of one Mahek Maheshwari on July 9, for tweeting about Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Here’s the tweet in question:
CJI rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access Justice! pic.twitter.com/PwKOS22iMz
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) June 29, 2020
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari heard the matter on Wednesday. The court issued notice to the Attorney General and Bhushan, and has listed the matter for August 5.
In his complaint, according to LiveLaw, Maheshwari has claimed that this tweet was malafide and offensive, particularly since the Supreme Court judges had worked through the lockdown. He calls Bhushan’s tweet a “cheap stunt” and holds Twitter India accountable for not taking it down. The petition also refers to Bhushan’s interventions in the court on behalf of migrant workers during the lockdown, when Justices Kaul and Gavai had accused the lawyer of not having “faith in the institution”.
Some of the logic used, though, is somewhat difficult to understand. Below, The Wire bring you eight unedited highlights from Maheshwari’s petition.
1. “[Prashant Bhushan’s] Tweet is of serious nature putting a big question on Sovereign Function of CJI and their abiding nature to the Constitution of India.”
2. “Contemnor No. 1 [Bhushan] is a lawyer by profession in public life and influential person due to her profession. Such Remarks of the Contemnor Will seriously affect in knowing the Character and Appearnce of the Hon’ble CJI.”
3. “…how can he [Bhushan] say that CJI without using the word Hon’ble being a lawyer in the Outer Space Moreover to it accusing him of denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice that too with a exclamation mark suggest his Rude behaviour.”
4. “…Hon’ble CJI and other Hon’ble Justices despite COVID 19 Lockdown are attaining the office in the Spirit of Duty and Compassion risking their Own lives so that Citizens can get access to their fundamental right i.e. Right to justice.”
5. “…Contemnor No. 1 remarks are too Inhuman forgetting that how much Hon’ble CJI and Other Justices stretching themselves to grant justice to the citizens that they allow hearing by Video Conferencing Mode. They are not even enjoying Vacations Properly. In Summum Bonnum Statement that CJI Denying Fundamental Right to citizens is Totally wrong.”
6. “…[Bhushan] without applying intelligence commented, if he had used intelligence he must gave a thought that Bike is on Stand and not in Ride Mode.”
7. “Contemnors statement are not only a cheap stunt of Publicity among people but a deliberate attempt to spread hatred in form of Anti India campaign on to protest and resist in every way against This Hon’ble Court and Judiciary as a Machinery of which Hon’ble CJI is the main Functionary.”
8. “Contemnor No. 1 statements are of such nature and type which incite feeling of no confident amongst public in the proceedings of this Hon’ble court and Independent Appearance of the Hon’ble CJI which is very well covered by definition of Criminal Contempt as “Scandalises the Court”.”
You can read the full petition on LiveLaw.