Civil rights lawyer found guilty of criminal contempt of court
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Judiciary
- The Supreme Court has recently found civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt of court.
- The lawyer had made a defamatory tweet against the CJI.
- The judgment:
- The tweet scandalised the SC as an institution.
- It held that being the epitome of the Indian judiciary, an attack on the SC can lead to ordinary litigants and judges of High Courts across the country losing the confidence in the SC.
- It acknowledged that its contempt powers could be used only to uphold the majesty of law and
- The powers cannot be used to vindicate an individual judge against whom a defamatory remark is made.
- It said that the prior consent of the Attorney General (AG) is not required to suo motu initiate the inherent contempt powers of the SC. The suo motu contempt powers are drawn from Article 129 of the Constitution.
- The SC has also asked Prashant Bhushan to reflect on his actions and possibly modify a statement in which he refused to apologise for his tweets.
Important value additions
Suo Moto Cognizance
- It is a Latin term.
- Meaning: An action taken by a government agency, court or other central authority on their own apprehension.
- A court takes a Suo Moto Cognizance of a legal matter when it receives information about the violation of rights or breach of duty through media or a third party’s notification.