SC initiates contempt proceedings against Prashant Bhushan, Twitter India

The Supreme Court has issued notice to advocate Prashant Bhushan seeking his response on why action should not be taken against him for tweeting serious allegations against the judiciary. The top court also asked Twitter India, against whom a contempt proceeding has started, why it did not remove Bhushan’s tweets when a contempt action became evident.

The Indian arm of the microblogging website said it will convey the top court’s message to its parent Twitter Inc.

Last month, Bhushan tweeted, “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”.

The Supreme Court asked the Attorney General to assist the court on the matter, adding the correct party in this case is Twitter Inc based in California and not Twitter India. A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari then allowed the social media firm to file a petition that it thinks is appropriate for the matter.

The Supreme Court took up contempt proceedings on its own against Bhushan for two tweets, one of which alleged the four previous Chief Justices of India played a role in destroying democracy in the last six years.

The other tweet took a swipe at a photo of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde sitting on a Harley Davidson superbike in Nagpur last month. The tweet pointed out the Chief Justice did not wear a helmet or a face mask “at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access Justice”.

“A petition was presented before us for contempt proceeding on the administrative side. We have gone through the petition and the allegation against CJI SA Bobde. The tweet in question was tweeted on June 27… We issue notice to the Attorney General. We also note that the correct party here is Twitter Inc of California and not Twitter India. Twitter permitted to file appropriate application,” the Supreme Court said.

The court will hear the matter next on August 5.