New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said that it will decide the 2009 contempt case against Prashant Bhushan on merits and will take a decision after extensive hearing beginning from August 17.
The bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B. R. Gavai and Krishna Murari, said: “We need to check whether statements made regarding corruption amounts to contempt of court. Thus we need to hear the matter.“
The bench on August 4 had reserved its order on the issue – whether to accept apology/explanation and drop the proceedings or commence a full-fledged trial on contempt of court.
The case has been filed by Senior Advocate Harish Salve.
The case has its genesis in a set of allegations by Bhushan against former Chief Justices S. H. Kapadia and K. G. 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.
The bench had asked Bhushan to tender its apology in order to put an end to the issue and also to preserve the dignity and honour of the Institution and the judges. Bhushan, however, refused to tender an apology and instead issued a statement saying “In my interview to Tehelka in 2009, I have used the word corruption in a wide sense meaning lack of propriety. I did not mean only financial corruption or deriving any pecuniary advantage. If what I have said caused hurt to any of them or to their families in any way, I regret the same. I unreservedly state that I support the institution of the judiciary and especially the Supreme Court of which I am a part, and had no intention to lower the prestige of the judiciary in which I have complete faith. I regret if my interview was misunderstood as doing so, that is, lower the reputation of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, which could never have been my intention at all.”
Read the order here;34354-2009-32-1501-23326-Order-10-Aug-2020
– India Legal Bureau