The Supreme Court will take up for hearing Wednesday a suo motu criminal contempt case against advocate Prashant Bhushan.
The bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari will hear the matter in which Twitter India has also been made a party.
The matter relates to some tweets made by Bhushan but specific details are not known.
The top court will also take up on July 24 another contempt matter against Bhushan and former Editor-In-Chief of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal. The 2009 matter pertains to statements by Bhushan against former Chief Justices and the then Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia in an interview to Tehelka.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who was amicus curiae in the 2009 matter, had submitted a report, drawing the court’s attention to the alleged statements.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had represented Bhushan in the matter. Jethmalani passed away last year.
What is Contempt of Court?
According to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court can either be civil contempt or criminal contempt. Civil contempt means wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court. On the other hand, criminal contempt means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which
(i) scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or
(ii) prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
(iii) interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.
A contempt of court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both, provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.
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