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SC to proceed for contempt against lawyer on remarks against

SC upheld the maintainablity of the suo motu contempt action initiated against prominent advocate Prashant Bhushan for allegedly casting aspersions on Chief Justice S H Kapadia and his predecessor Justice K G Balakrishnan.



New Delhi: The Supreme Court today upheld
the maintainablity of the suo motu contempt action initiated
against prominent advocate Prashant Bhushan for allegedly
casting aspersions on Chief Justice S H Kapadia and his
predecessor Justice K G Balakrishnan.

A three-judge Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac
Joseph and H L Dattu asked Bhushan to file his affidavit
within 12 weeks and posted the matter for final hearing to
November 10.

"We have upheld the maintainability of the notice and
have decided to hear the matter on merits," the Bench said.

Bhushan had earlier questioned the maintainability of the
notice issued by the apex court on the contempt application
moved by senior advocate Harish Salve for the alleged
contemptuous remarks in a news magazine. Salve had moved the
application while acting as the amicus curaie in the Forest
Bench.

The alleged contemnor advocate had in an interview to
`Tehelka` magazine made the remarks against Justice Kapadia in
2009 as well as some other judges and previous CJIs.
He had alleged Justice Kapadia, being a member of the
Forest Bench along with then Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan,
should not have heard the matter relating to Vedanta Sterlite
Group as he held shares of the company.

Justice Kapadia later recused himself from hearing a
matter pertaining to the public offer made by London-based
Vedanta Resources to buy additional stake in iron ore
exporting firm Sesa Goa as he happens to be shareholder of a
sister company.

The court had also issued a notice to Editor-in-Chief of
Tehelka Tarun Tejpal which had carried Bhushan`s interview.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Bhushan,
had earlier argued before the Bench that it should not proceed
with the contempt proceedings as there is a serious risk that
it will gain an impression that it is being issued for
suppressing the uncomfortable facts about the judiciary.

"If the matter is heard, the outcome can bring much
much more tragedy," he had said adding Salve`s application was
not maintainable and should be dismissed.

The senior advocate had submitted that the power of the
court to take suo motu contempt action has to be used
sparingly in the rarest of rare case.

Arguing on identical line, senior advocate and former
Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, father of Prashant, had
also argued that the contempt power should not be used to
stifle the criticism of judiciary or to protect its
reputation.

-PTI

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