Mumbai: Days after Delhi-based lawyer Mahek Maheshwari sought contempt proceedings against advocate Prashant Bhushan for tweeting about the Chief Justice of India, Bhushan today, August 1, filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking recall of the contempt notice issued against him.
Maheshwari had reportedly moved the apex court against Bhushan for tweeting on a photograph of Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The tweet has since been withheld in India following Maheshwari’s complaint.
Among other things, Maheshwari in the complaint had claimed that “[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.”
In his writ petition filed today, Bhushan has stated that Maheshwari’s complaint against him was defective as it was not accompanied with the sanction of the Attorney General, mandated under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and Rule 3(c) of the Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of the Supreme Court, 1975.
The Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognisance of Maheshwari’s complaint. Bhushan in his petition noted that the apex court had dispensed with the statutory requirement of the Attorney General’s sanction.
The petition states: “It is submitted that by taking suo motu cognizance of Shri Maheshwari’s petition, this Hon’ble Court dispensed with the requirement of taking consent of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General which is the express and non-derogable mandate of law.”
Bhushan’s petition also alleges that the Secretary General has committed an illegality by placing the complaint before Justice Arun Mishra, even when the “master of the roster” is the CJI.
“It is submitted that the actions of the Respondent amount to a usurpation of the powers of the Hon’ble Chief Justice and are therefore clearly unlawful being contrary to settled law as well as the Supreme Court Rules 2013,” Bhushan states in his petition. The petition is settled by senior advocate Dushyant Dave and filed through advocate Kamini Jaiswal.
The Supreme Court not only took up Maheshwari’s complaint but had also listed one of the old cases of contempt against Bhushan from 2009 for final hearing.
The earlier case was listed for hearing on July 24. On this, Bhushan has contended that the “sudden listing” of the 11-year-old contempt case against him for hearing smacks of “malice in law” on the part of the respondent.