KK Venugopal and Swara Bhasker
KK Venugopal and Swara Bhasker
Litigation News

[BREAKING] Attorney General KK Venugopal declines consent for contempt action against Swara Bhasker, Petitioners approach SG

The statements in question were allegedly made by Swara Bhasker at an event hosted by the "Mumbai Collective". They pertained to the Supreme Court's judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case.

Debayan Roy

Attorney General of India KK Venugopal has declined to grant consent in a plea seeking the initiation of criminal contempt of court proceedings against actress Swara Bhasker for her comments at a panel discussion held in February.

AG Venugopal has called the comments made a "factual one" and stated that they were part of the "perception of a speaker."

Referring to the first part of Bhasker's statements that the petitioner asserted is contemptuous, AG Venugopal has said,

"The comment refers to the judgment of the Supreme Court, and is not an attack on the institution. This does to offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself or say anything that would scandalise or tend to scandalise, or lower or tend to lower the authority of the Court. In my opinion, this statement does not constitute criminal contempt."
Attorney General KK Venugopal

The Attorney General's consent was sought in line with the requirement under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act read with Rule (3) of the rules concerning Contempt Proceedings before the Supreme Court.

The petitioner claims that Swara Bhasker has made "derogatory and scandalous" statements against the Supreme Court during her speech.

The statements in question were allegedly made by Bhasker at an event hosted by the "Mumbai Collective". They pertained to the Supreme Court's judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case.

At this event, Bhasker is stated to have commented, inter alia,

"We are living in a country where the Supreme Court of our country states that the demolition of Babri masjid was unlawfully and in the same judgment rewards the same people who brought down the mosque... We are now in a situation where are courts are not sure whether they believe in the constitution or not... What then do we do and it seems to me that as everyone has said that the path is clear to us and it has been shown to us by you all whoever of you all have been part of the protest by the students by the women and by the citizen protestors it is to resist..."

Petitioner Usha Shetty through advocates Anuj Saxena, Prakash Sharma, and Mahek Maheshwari stated that these comments intended to incite a lack of confidence in the judiciary among the people and that they question the integrity of the Court.

Thus, they amount to criminal contempt of Court, falling under the umbrella of "scandalizing the court", the plea states.

The petitioner has now approached the Solicitor-General, Tushar Mehta for permission, contending that the petitioner differs with reasoning given by AG Venugopal.

"The Petitioner herein respectfully differs with the reasons given by the Hon’ble Attorney General of India… Thus it is most respectfully prayed to provide your kind consent in initiating criminal proceedings against Ms Swara Bhasker", reads the petitioner's letter to Solicitor General Mehta.

The AG has maintained that the speech by actor Swara Bhasker "does not offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself" and that the statement does not constitute criminal contempt.

The AG has added that the statement by Bhasker that "We are now in a situation where are courts are not sure whether they believe in the constitution" is a vague statement and is general that no one would take note of it.

"I therefore, decline consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Ms Swara Bhasker."
Attorney General KK Venugopal

Read Attorney General KK Venugopal's Letter:

Contempt Case - Ms. Swara Bhaskar - AG's Letter.pdf
Preview
Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news
www.barandbench.com