The Supreme Court today will begin its contempt proceeding case against lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Twitter India for two tweets that have criticised the apex court.
The first tweet has claimed that the four previous Chief Justices of India each played a role in destroying democracy in the country for the past six years.
The second tweet accused Chief Justice SA Bobde of riding a motorcycle without a helmet or a face mask during the pandemic. The picture of the Chief Justice was shared on social media last month where he was seen riding a Harley Davidson.
The contempt case was filed by Supreme Court advocate Mehek Maheshwari, who tweeted, “The Contempt Petition against Adv Prashant bhushan is filed my me as he made very inhuman remarks against our CJI Bobde of which Hon'ble Supreme Court took suo moto Cognizance.”
In his petition, Maheshwari adds, “The tweet is of serious nature and raises questions on the sovereign function of the CJI.”
Maeshwari, who is a self-proclaimed life coach, also assisted in cases such as National Herald, Ram Mandir Ayodhya, Sunanda Pushkar Murder, Delhi IIT, Tirupati temple etc, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also worked in Subramanian Swamy's office as an associate.
Maheshwari is also upset that Bhushan did not use the word ‘honourable’ while referring to the Chief Justice, and calls his behaviour ‘rude’.
The application also alleged that the tweet was a "cheap publicity stunt" with an attempt to "spread hatred in the form of anti-India campaign."Meanwhile action against Twitter has been sought as it did not ‘block the tweet’.
For its part, Twitter should not have been named in the case at all. It is a social media post where people voice their opinion, whether we agree with it or not. However, earlier this year, Twitter changed some of its policies when it came to ‘labelling’ tweets, and took on US President Donald Trump. In a blog, Twitter wrote, “Earlier this year, we introduced a new label for Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media. Similar labels will now appear on Tweets containing potentially harmful, misleading information (related to COVID-19).
Furthermore, filing a case like this against Bhushan is most likely to be dismissed by the Supreme Court. He was the lawyer that represented activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal in 2009, who demanded that the Supreme Court come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act. In the same year, he accused half the judges in the Supreme Court bench of 16 of corruption. Lawyer Harish Salve at the time filed a contempt case against him forcing him to apologise. He, however, explained his rationale behind the allegation.
He has also opposed the rule which prevents people from registering a First Information Report against a judge without the permission of the Chief Justice of India.
In all likelihood, Bhushan will be made to apologise at the most, and if it’s anything like the 2009 case, he will tell the court what he truly feels.