Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Supreme Court questions the intra-court appeals in contempt cases

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked Attorney General for India KK Venugopal to help in the pleas that seek clarification on whether those convicted of criminal contempt by the apex court would have the right to intra-court appeal before a larger and different bench.

The poignant question was raised before the bench of Justices UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia who have listed the matter for final disposal in September while ordering that 

“Issue notice returnable on 27th September. We proceed to hear the matter. Dr Dhawan has ensured that all relevant judgment compilations will be filed before the next hearing. We issue notice to the AG to help us in final disposal.”

The matter here pertains to contempt on several individuals, including advocate Prashant Bhushan.

“We may have to take instructions from the Union law ministry” said the Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj

Justice Lalit asked Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan if relief through a curative petition was sought, to which he replied to in the affirmative.

Justice Lalit last week had  offered to recuse from hearing this matter stating that he had been involved as Amicus Curiae in one of the cases of Bhushan before his elevation to the Bench.

“Bhushan was part of contempt proceedings where I was involved as Amicus, in the matter Harish Salve had initiated in the Tehelka matter. So should I go ahead?” Justice Lalit asked at the outset.

The petitioners lawyer said

“Lordship can go ahead. It was an entirely different matter. It won’t interfere since that case is dead.”

Justice Lalit said that affidavit can be  filed by the counsel stating that he has no objection to his hearing the case.

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