A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said on Wednesday that the contempt of court proceeding against activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan was related to two tweets posted by him in June and issued notices to Bhushan, the Attorney General and Twitter Inc.
The court took up two tweets, one posted by Bhushan on June 27 about the “role of the Supreme Court” in destroying India’s democracy.
The second was Bhushan’s tweet on June 29 with a photo of sitting Chief Justice of India SA Bobde riding a motorcycle “belonging to a BJP leader”. Bhushan had also pointed out that the CJI Bobde was not wearing “a mask or helmet”.
The Bar&Bench had on Tuesday reported that this tweet was highlighted by the petitioner in his contempt petition.
“If court directs then we will disable alleged contemptuous tweets of lawyer Prashant Bhushan,” Twitter’s counsel told the SC.
The top court had on Tuesday initiated suo motu (on its own) contempt proceedings against Bhushan for his alleged derogatory tweets against the judiciary. The court also initiated contempt proceedings against Twitter India, the platform on which Bhushan had posted the tweets.
Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya, who appeared for Twitter India, told the court on Wednesday that the social media platform had been impleaded incorrectly. “We can disable the tweet after a court order,” he said, according to Bar&Bench.
Poovayya also said he did not defend Bhushan’s tweet, LiveLaw said.
The court accepted this and impleaded Twitter Inc instead of Twitter India.
The matter will be heard again on August 5.
Bhushan has been raising issues pertaining to judiciary and been very critical about the top court’s handling of matters related to migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has also made statements relating to the treatment meted out to jailed activists like Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj who are accused in Bhima-Koregaon case.
In November 2009, the Supreme Court had issued contempt notice to Bhushan for allegedly casting aspersions on some sitting and former top court judges in an interview to a news magazine.
The matter which was not heard by court as per the record available on the top court’s website since May 2012 is now listed for hearing on July 24 by a bench headed by Justice Mishra, the Press Trust of India reported.