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Now, Centre files contempt plea against Prashant Bhushan

Justice (retd.) A.P. Shah (right) with Prashant Bhushan (centre) and Yogendra Yadav at Press Club of India in New Delhi on February 5, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Close on the heels of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal filing a contempt of court petition against advocate Prashant Bhushan, the government followed suit on Tuesday.

Both the government and the Attorney General have found Mr. Bhushan’s tweets on February 1, alleging that the government through the top law officer misled the apex court about the appointment of M. Nageshwar Rao as interim CBI Director, as scandalous.

‘False’ tweets

The government contended that the tweets “wilfully and deliberately” made a false statement in a case pending in court. A Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra is scheduled to hear the petition filed by NGO Common Cause against the appointment of Mr. Nageshwar Rao on February 6. Mr. Venugopal would be mentioning the contempt petitions in court.

On February 1, Mr. Venugopal had submitted before a Bench led by Justice Mishra that the government’s appointment of Mr. Rao was on the basis of an approval given by the high-power committee (HPC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 9-10 for the posting of a ‘suitable officer’ as interim CBI Director till a new Director is appointed.

Mr. Venugopal had handed over the minutes of the HPC meeting to the court for perusal. However, advocate Prashant Bhushan, who represents the petitioner NGO Common Cause, took to Twitter later in the day alleging that the government had "misled" the court.

Mr. Bhushan tweeted that he had talked to HPC member and Opposition Leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who had denied that any decision or discussion took place in the HPC over the appointment of Mr. Rao. Mr. Bhushan alleged that the government may have "fabricated" the documents of the meeting.

In his contempt petition, Mr. Venugopal said the tweets by Mr. Bhushan scandalise, prejudice and interfere with judicial proceedings.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 9:06:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/now-centre-files-contempt-plea-against-prashant-bhushan/article26187713.ece

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