February 6: The Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha today issued a notice to senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan in a case pertaining to comments over the appointment of CBI interim director.
The Court issued notice following petitions filed by Attorney General KK Venugopal and the Centre against Mr. Prashant Bhushan.
The Court while issuing the notice said that it would deal with the larger question, whether it is allowed to lawyers or any other individual to criticise the Court in a sub judice matter which would result in influencing public opinion.
Mr. Bhushan accepted the notice personally in the Court and sought three weeks' time to file a reply. The bench held,
"This issue required to be heard in length, notice issued."
The matter is posted for next hearing on March 7.
Earlier, while handing over the minutes of the High Powered Committee meeting to the court Mr. Venugopal had submitted that the government’s decision regarding the appointment of Mr. Rao was done on the basis of approval provided by the high-power committee (HPC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the petitioner NGO Common Cause, on February 1, using his Twitter handle later in the day alleged that the government had misled the court and might have provided fabricated documents of the meeting.
Mr. Bhushan in his tweet said that he had a word with a member of HPC as well as with Opposition Leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who had denied about the decision or any sort of discussion in the HPC regarding the appointment of Mr. Rao as interim chief.
In his contempt petition, Mr. Venugopal said that the tweets scandalise the issue as well as meddle with legal procedures.
Mr Venugopal further said in his contempt petition that, through his tweets, Mr Bhushan seemed to have purposely expected to cast slanders on the "trustworthiness and genuineness" of the Attorney General who had submitted the minutes of the meeting before the Top Court during the hearing.