Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court
Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court
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Supreme Court impleads Attorney General KK Venugopal in 2009 contempt case against Prashant Bhushan

The Court said that AG Venugopal would be impleaded in the case as per Rule 10 of the Supreme Court Rules. A decision on whether he would be appointed as an amicus curiae in the case will be taken later.

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today directed that the case records in the 2009 contempt case against Advocate Prashant Bhushan be sent to Attorney General KK Venugopal.

The case was taken up by a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna today.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Bhushan, informed the Court that AG Venugopal had stated during an earlier hearing that he would like to assist the Court, and thus should be impleaded as an amicus curiae.

The Court said that AG Venugopal would be impleaded in the case as per Rule 10 of the Supreme Court Rules. A decision on whether he would be appointed as an amicus curiae in the case will be taken later.

Dhavan also submitted that there are more questions of law to be framed in the case, as the Court had earlier stated that it would add to the list of 10 questions submitted by Bhushan.

The matter will now taken up during the week commencing from October 12.

The matter was initially placed before a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra. Keeping in view the larger questions that emerged from the case and the lengthy hearing the same would require, Justice Mishra's Bench had directed for the case to be placed before another appropriate bench. An order to this effect was passed on August 25, when Justice Mishra was just days away from demitting office as a Supreme Court judge.

On August 17, after hearing the parties at some length, the Bench expressed its willingness to put quietus to this case. It also observed that larger questions emerging from the case needed to be addressed and decided.

The Court had asked the counsel involved in the case to address the following questions:

  1. In case a public statement as to corruption by a particular Judge(s) is permissible, under what circumstances and on what basis, it can be made, and safeguards, if any, to be observed in that regard ?

  2. What procedure is to be adopted to make complaint in such cases when the allegation is about the conduct of a sitting Judge ?

  3. Whether against retired Judge(s), any allegation as to corruption can be made publicly, thereby shaking the confidence of general public in the judiciary; and whether the same would be punishable under the Contempt of Courts Act?

The instant contempt case dates back to 2009, when Bhushan made statements alleging corruption in the judiciary in an interview with Tehelka magazine.

The Supreme Court had subsequently taken suo motu notice of the issue after a complaint to this effect was filed by Senior Advocate Harish Salve, amicus curiae in the case. The contempt petition was held to be maintainable by a three-judge Bench on November 10, 2010.

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