In a significant development mirroring the contempt case initiated against Advocate Prashant Bhushan last year, the Supreme Court has registered a suo motu criminal contempt case against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai for his August 2020 tweets critiquing the judiciary. .The case was registered by the Supreme Court based on a petition by one Aastha Khurana. Earlier, Attorney General KK Venugopal had refused to grant consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Sardesai.The petition was filed by Khurana in September 2020, and has only now been registered as a suo motu criminal contempt case..Khurana, who hails from Panipat in Haryana, had highlighted multiple tweets by Sardesai to buttress her case for initiation of contempt proceedings against the journalist..On August 14, the day advocate Prashant Bhushan was convicted for contempt of court, Sardesai had tweeted, “Prashant Bhushan held guilty of contempt by Supreme Court, sentence to be pronounced on August 20. This even as habeas corpus petitions of those detained in Kashmir for more than a year remain pending.”.Later, when the top court imposed a sentence of Re 1 on Bhushan on August 31, Sardesai posted the following tweet: “Rs 1 token fine imposed by SC on Prashant Bhushan in contempt case. If he doesn’t pay it, then 3 months jail sentence. Clearly, court looking to wriggle out of an embarrassment of its own making.”.The journalist further tweeted:“More on @pbhushan1 case: FYI: Sec 67 of IPC stipulates -if fine < Rs. 50/-, imprisonment can’t exceed 2 months. SC has given 3 months.SC has no authority to debar practice- 5 Judge Bench ruling of SC in VC Misra’s case. Why can’t SC apologise and be done with it!”.Khurana also referred to older tweets in which Sardesai allegedly cast aspersions on Justice Arun Mishra, who had heard Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case, and former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi..As per Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act and Rule 3 of Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court, the consent of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is required before the apex court can hear a criminal contempt petition filed by a private individual.Khurana had therefore approached AG Venugopal seeking permission to initiate contempt proceedings against the journalist..In her complaint, Khurana, through Advocates on Record Om Prakash Parihar and Dushyant Tiwari, had stated that the tweets by the India Today anchor critiquing the apex court's verdict in Bhushan's contempt case amounted to nothing but a "cheap publicity stunt.".In his reply to Khurana's letter, Venugopal stated that Sardesai’s tweets are not of a serious nature so as to undermine the majesty of the court or lower its stature in the minds of the public.."The reputation of the Supreme Court as one of the great pillars of our democracy has been built assiduously over the last 70 years. Trifling remarks and mere passing criticism though perhaps distasteful are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution,” the AG had said..[Breaking] AG KK Venugopal declines to give consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Rajdeep Sardesai.Regardless, Khurana went on to file a petition before the Supreme Court. In her petition, she has submitted that not only did "Sardesai question the credibility of this Hon’ble Court judgment, but he has also passed various comments against the Ex-Judges and Ex-Chief Justice of India in past and have also tried to teach the Hon’ble Judges their duties and responsibilities.".This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has registered a suo motu contempt case without the approval of the Attorney General..The petition seeking contempt action against Advocate Prashant Bhushan was also filed without seeking consent from AG Venugopal. The Court had registered that case as a suo motu criminal contempt petition and gone on to convict Bhushan. .Update: Supreme Court officials later clarified that no contempt of court proceedings have been initiated against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and the Court's website which showed that it had taken suo motu cognizance of a contempt plea against Sardesai, was "an inadvertent mistake."