Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, Swara Bhasker
Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, Swara Bhasker
Litigation News

After AG, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta denies consent for initiating contempt proceedings against actor Swara Bhasker

In a letter declining consent, SG Mehta has said that since AG Venugopal has already denied consent, such a request "was misconceived."

Debayan Roy

After Attorney General KK Venugopal earlier denied consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against actor Swara Bhasker, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has followed suit.

In a letter declining consent, SG Mehta has said that since AG Venugopal has already denied consent, such a request "was misconceived."

Petitioner Usha Shetty had sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the actor before the Supreme Court, writing to the two top law officers for their consent, as is required under the Contempt of Courts Act.

While declining consent to initiate contempt proceedings on August 23, AG Venugopal termed the comments made by Bhasker as "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 before the Supreme Court asserted is contemptuous, AG Venugopal 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 AG'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 tend to incite a lack of confidence in the judiciary among the people and that they questioned the integrity of the Court.

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

In his response, the AG had added that the statement made 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.

After the AG's denial, the petitioner sought permission from SG Mehta under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, read with Rule 3 of the Rules To Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court, 1975.

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