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[2019 Contempt Case Against Prashant Bhushan] SC Directs To Implead AG KK Venugopal

Radhika Roy
10 Sep 2020 7:50 AM GMT
[2019 Contempt Case Against Prashant Bhushan] SC Directs To Implead AG KK Venugopal
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Supreme Court has directed for notice to be served upon Attorney-General KK Venugopal for assisting in the matter pertaining to the 2009 contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan over his interview to Tehelka magazine.

A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna heard the submissions of Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, and proceeded to adjourn the matter to the week commencing from October 12. Case records have been directed to be sent to the AG.

During today's hearing, Justice Khanwilkar asked Dhavan if someone was appearing as amicus in the matter. To this, Dhavan responded that in the previous hearing before a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, the AG had sought for permission to appear in the matter and assist in the same.

Dhavan further submitted that, as the matter involved questions of law, Rule 10 of the Supreme Court Rules dictated for the impleadment of the AG. The Bench agreed with this contention.

It was also submitted that in the previous Order in the issue, the Court had sought to add three more questions of law, in addition to the ten questions that had already been submitted by Dhavan.

On this note, Dhavan stated that he was "inviting the AG to be a part of the matter".

The Bench took note of these submissions and directed for notice to be served upon the AG. Due to paucity of time in light of part-heard matters, the Bench proceeded to adjourn the matter to the week commencing from October 12.

On August 24, a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had adjourned he hearing, in view of Justice Mishra's impending retirement. The Bench had framed certain questions of larger importance on when comments alleging corruption in the judiciary could be made public.

Prashant Bhushan had also submitted additional questions, which the Bench had agreed to consider.

The 11-year old suo moto contempt case had been taken on the basis of a complaint made by Senior Advocate Harish Salve. The contempt proceedings pertain to allegations made by Salve towards Bhushan where Bhushan allegedly said that half of the last 16 Chief Justices were corrupt. As per the complaint, Bhushan also said in the interview that he had no proof for the allegations.

On November 6, 2009, the complaint was placed before a bench comprising the then Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice S H Kapadia, which directed that the matter be listed before a 3-judge bench in which Justice Kapadia was not a member.

On January 19, 2010, a Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph and H L Dattu issued notices to Bhushan and Tarun Tejpal, the Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka magazine.





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