While issuing notice to Advocate Prashant Bhushan in its Suo Motu case pertaining to initiation of contempt proceedings for two of his tweets , the Supreme Court stated that it is of the prima facie view that,
"....the aforesaid statements on Twitter have brought the administration of justice in disrepute and are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the Institution of Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of public at large"
The case will be taken up for further consideration on August 5. Twitter will also be filing its reply in the interim.
The tweets published by Bhushan on his personal Twitter handle read:
1) "When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal Emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the Supreme Court in this destruction, & more particularly the role of the last 4 CJIs" - Published on June 27
2) "CJI rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access Justice!" - Published on June 29
The bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari also issued notice to the Attorney General of India and added that after examining the matter on the administrative side, the matter will be listed before the Court to pass appropriate orders.
Further to this, Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya appearing for Twitter stated that the correct description of the the party to be impleaded is not Twitter India but "Twitter Inc., California, USA".
Poovayya also said to the bench on being asked as to why the Tweets were not taken down, that the Tweet(s) in question may be taken down on behalf of Twitter if a Court order detailing the same are effectuated, adding that his client is not "defending" them.
The Suo Motu case was taken up by the Top Court today after an application was filed by Advocate Mahek Maheshwari praying for initiation of Contempt Proceedings against Bhushan and Twitter India over his tweet on CJI SA Bobde on a Harley Davidson Bike, which he averred, was "mala fide" and offensive".
"...the remarks are too inhuman forgetting that how much the Hon'ble CJI and other Justices are stretching themselves to grant justice to the citizen that they allow hearing by Video Conferencing mode.They are not even enjoying vacations properly", the application stated.
The application filed prior to the registration of suo motu case also stated that the tweet had incited the public by instilling a "feeling of no-confidence" in public in the independence of judiciary" and had therefore amounted to "scandalizing the court", which attract criminal contempt under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.