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Prashant Bhushan Contempt: SC Dismisses Appeal Against Registry Rejecting Intervention Application Filed By Activists

20 Aug 2020 12:43 PM GMT
Prashant Bhushan Contempt: SC Dismisses Appeal Against Registry Rejecting Intervention Application Filed By Activists
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The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal against the Registry's order rejecting the intervention application filed by 16 civil society activists in the Prashant Bhushan contempt case.

Senior Advocate C U Singh, appearing for the appellants, submitted that the Registry cannot usurp judicial functions and the order will set a bad precedent.

The bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, summarily dismissed the appeal.

Citing the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Justice CS Karnan, which held that contempt is a matter strictly between the Court and the contemnor, the SC Registry on August 4 rejected the abovementioned impleadment application.

Prashant Bhushan Contempt Case : SC Registry Rejects Impleadment Application Filed By 16 Civil Society Activists

The Registry reproduced the observations made by the Constitution Bench in the 2017 judgment which notes that no one should interfere in contempt proceedings, "without due consent and authorization".

Resisting this rejection order, Mr. Singh had stated before the Supreme Court today that the Registry had "usurped judicial function" and if the same is not addressed by the Court, it may create problem in the future.

The challenge was heard and dismissed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of Mr. Bhushan on sentence in the contempt case.

It may be noted that last year, the Supreme Court had held that the Registry cannot exercise judicial powers to decide maintainability of petitions.

Though the observation was made in a case pertaining to usurpation of power by a High Court Registry, the Supreme Court had extensively distinguished between judicial and administrative functions and had remarked, "The power of judicial function cannot be delegated to the Registry."

HC Registry Cannot Exercise Judicial Powers To Decide Maintainability Of Petitions: SC

The case related to a challenge against the action of the Madras High Court Registry which had refused numbering of an Anticipatory Bail petition and dismissed it on the issue of maintainability, in view of Section 18A of the SC/ ST Atrocities Act, 1989.

While setting aside the Registry's order, a Division Bench of the Top Court had observed therein,

"The act of numbering a petition is purely administrative. The objections…on the aspect of maintainability require judicial application of mind by utilizing appropriate judicial standard."

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