The Supreme Court on Friday held activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt for his two derogatory tweets against the judiciary.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it might hear on August 20 the arguments on quantum of sentence to be awarded to Bhushan within the matter.
A contemnor are often punished with simple imprisonment for a term which can extend up to 6 months or with a fine of up to Rs 2,000 or with both.
The apex court had on August 5 reserved its verdict within the matter after Bhushan had defended his tweets, saying they were against the judges regarding their conduct in their personal capacity and that they didn’t obstruct administration of justice.
On July 22, the highest court had issued a show cause notice to Bhushan after initiating the contempt of court against him after listening of a petition.
While pertaining to the tweets by Bhushan, the apex court had earlier said these statements are clear capable of “undermining the dignity and authority” of the institution of the Supreme Court generally and therefore the office of judge of India especially , within the eyes of the general public at large
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Bhushan within the matter, had said, the 2 tweets weren’t against the institution .
Bhushan has made immense contribution to the event of jurisprudence and there are a minimum of 50 judgments to his credit , Dave had said, adding that the court has appreciated his contributions in cases like 2G scam, coal block allocation and in mining matters.
Referring to the ADM Jabalpur case on suspension of fundamental rights during the Emergency, the senior advocate had said that even extremely uncharitable remarks against the judges were made and no contempt proceedings were made out.
In a 142-page reply affidavit filed within the matter, Bhushan had stood by his two tweets and had said the expression of opinion, however outspoken, disagreeable or unpalatable to some , cannot constitute contempt of court.
Bhushan, within the affidavit, has mentioned several apex court judgements, speeches of former and serving judges on contempt of court and therefore the stifling of dissent during a democracy and his views on judicial actions in some cases.