The Supreme Court bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, was today (July 24) hearing an 11-year-old suo motu contempt case against lawyer Prashant Bhushan. After requests from all lawyers for time, the court decided on August 4 on the next date of hearing.
The case has been filed by Senior Advocate Harish Salve.
The case has it’s genesis in a set of allegations by Bhushan against former Chief Justices SH Kapadia and KG Balakrishnan. Advocate Bhushan’s father and former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan had filed an application bringing on record the instances of corruption against six CJIs. This was produced in a sealed cover but not yet perused.
Justice Mishra asked Senior Advocate Shanti Bhushan to speak.
The advocate said: “Please take up the case when normal functioning the courts begin. I will be able to assist properly. It has waited for 11 years, it can wait for a few more weeks.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said: “Mr Ram Jethmalani was appearing in the case. He has passed away. The case started in 2009. Now I can assist in the case. The record in this case needs to be perused thoroughly. This is an important case and seven years have passed since the last hearing. We request time to assist your lordship.”
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal said: “I support the request of my learned friends. It has waited for so many years and it can wait for some more time till the physical hearings begin.”
Justice BR Gavai asked: “Constitution bench hearings are also happening virtually. Why not this?”
Sibal said: “This is not a deportation matter. There is no urgency. Nothing impending is happening tomorrow… It can wait for some time.”
Dhavan added: “The record runs into three or four volumes. There are questions of interpretation in this case which have not arisen before. For me to assist the court, I need some time. I am always ready to assist…”
Shanti Bhushan said: “My application for impleadment is pending. I want to assist my lords.”
Justice Mishra said: “You are too senior to be impleaded in the case. We cannot implead you.”
At this Bhushan said: “The case has waited for so long. My application cannot be disposed off like this. You have not read my application.”
Justice Mishra said: “I have read. You have supported your son.”
Sibal again said: “Please give us some time.”
Justice Mishra said: “We will give time, but we know our responsibility.”
The court said that the matter will be next heard on August 4.
-India Legal Bureau