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Notice to Prashant Bhushan on contempt plea

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to advocate Prashant Bhushan on a contempt plea filed by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and the Centre saying that Bhushan tweeted that the AG “fabricated” minutes of a selection panel meeting on the appointment of then acting CBI Director M. Nageswara Rao that was cleared by the panel.

A bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha said they will be addressing the issue of “vital importance” involving commenting on a matter of sub-judice affecting public opinion and the rights of the litigants. The next hearing will be on March 7.

Making it clear that “punishment to a lawyer should be the last resort”, Justice Mishra said: “Contempt is a Brhamastra, it should not be used ordinarily.”

While Venugopal, at the outset, made it clear that he was not seeking any punishment for Bhushan but wanted a line to be drawn and a law be declared spelling out the limits on media reporting and lawyers commenting on matters sub-judice.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought to discipline the errant lawyers who go public criticizing judgments and casting aspersions on judges.

Mehta said the “magnanimity” of the court on not taking action against such people should not be treated as a “weakness”.



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