Another note issued on dropping veteran journalists’ plea from list of cases

NEW DELHI, 08/11/2019 : Supreme Court Building, in New Delhi on November 08, 2019. Photo Sandeep Saxena

NEW DELHI, 08/11/2019 : Supreme Court Building, in New Delhi on November 08, 2019. Photo Sandeep Saxena   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

A writ petition filed by veteran journalists N. Ram and Arun Shourie along with advocate Prashant Bhushan challenging 'scandalising of court' as a ground for contempt is now listed before a three-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra for hearing on August 13.

The petition was dropped from the list of cases scheduled for hearing before a Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on August 10 because it had been accompanied with an application to stay contempt cases pending against the noted civil rights lawyer before another Bench (Justice Mishra's), an official source in the Supreme Court had explained earlier on Monday.

The explanation from the official source came in a note issued late on Monday. This is the second note in as many days with regard to the petition.

The first note issued, on Saturday said the Supreme Court Registry had committed a "mistake" in listing the writ petition before Justice Chandrachud. It said that an explanation has been sought from the Registry officials involved in listing of the case.

Also read: Scandalising as contempt: On proceedings against Prashant Bhushan

This second two-page note explains that the writ petition filed by Mr. Ram, Mr. Shourie and advocate Bhushan has specifically sought a stay on a criminal contempt case of 2009 and a suo motu contempt proceedings, both pending before a three-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.

In fact, Justice Mishra's Bench on Monday, in an interim order, decided to hear on merits the 2009 contempt case. This case is based on remarks about "judicial corruption" made by Mr. Bhushan in an interview to Tehelka magazine. The court has listed the case for hearing on August 17.

The suo motu case concerns Mr. Bhushan's tweet about a photograph of Chief Justice Sharad Bobde astride a heavy bike and another carrying his comments on the role of the Supreme Court in the past six years. Justice Mishra's Bench found both tweets to be prima facie undermining the authority of the court.

The note issued on Monday said since another Bench (Justice Mishra's) was already hearing both contempt matters against Mr. Bhushan, it would be against procedure and law to have another co-ordinate Bench (Justice Chandrachud's) hear or even stay the same cases.

"It is a cardinal principle of law that a coordinate Bench cannot stay the proceedings of ongoing cases which are pending before other similar Bench. This would have created a problem as one court cannot stay the proceedings of the other court having the same jurisdiction," the note explained the deleting of the writ petition from the Bench led by Justice Chandrachud.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 2:04:20 AM |

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