The Supreme Court Friday adjourned to August 4 the hearing in 2009 contempt case against activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan and journalist Tarun Tejpal after senior advocates representing them sought time to prepare.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra gave time to the lawyers and adjourned the matter.
Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, who is an intervener in the case, said he found it very difficult to advance arguments through video conferencing and it would be better if the case was heard after normal hearing begins. He said he was not comfortable with the virtual court hearings.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Bhushan, said this case had been pending for the past 9-10 years and they needed some time to prepare.
The court said that even Constitution bench matters were now being heard through video conferencing.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tarun Tejpal, said: “If we have waited for nine years, then I don’t understand what the urgency is.”
Justice Mishra then said that let us start the hearing the court will not conclude the matter in a hurry.
When Dhavan said he did not have all the case records, and may be the court has them, Justice Mishra said, “We know Mr Dhavan you have got very good memory and you can very well start arguing.”
The bench told senior advocate Shanti Bhushan that he was too old and should not be arguing this case. Sibal again requested the court to give some time to prepare in the matter.
The bench then said that it is giving some time to the counsels appearing in the matter to prepare and posted the matter for further hearing on August 4.
The apex court in November 2009, had issued contempt notice to Bhushan and Tejpal for allegedly casting aspersions on some sitting and former top court judges in an interview to a news magazine. Tejpal was the editor of the magazine. The matter was listed on Friday after the last hearing in May 2012.
On July 22, the top court had issued notice to activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan in the suo motu (on its own) contempt proceedings initiated against him for his alleged derogatory tweets against the judiciary, saying his statements prima facie “brought the administration of justice in disrepute”.
While referring to recent tweets by Bhushan, the apex court said these statements are prima facie capable of “undermining the dignity and authority” of the institution of the Supreme Court in general and the office of Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of public at large.
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