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Supreme Court holds advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt, acquits Twitter India

The Supreme Court on Friday held advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for his tweets criticising the court and Chief Justice SA Bobde and his predecessors.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari passed the order. The quantum of punishment is yet to be decided and the hearing on the sentence is scheduled to be held on August 20.

The court, however, acquitted the other accused Twitter India in the case. The bench noted that as soon as the Supreme Court objected to Prashant Bhushan’s tweet, Twitter India had removed them, hence the intention of Twitter India would not be considered against the court.

Taking suo motu cognizance of the separate tweets made against Chief Justice SA Bobde and the Supreme Court, by Prashant Bhushan, the apex court had initiated contempt action against Bhushan and Twitter India.

On July 22, the apex court had issued notice to Bhushan on the alleged contemptuous remarks on Twitter. The top court also asked the Attorney General to assist it on the matter. The apex court had asked Bhushan and Twitter to file a reply by August 5.

“We are, prima facie, of the view that the aforesaid statements on Twitter have brought the administration of justice in disrepute and are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the Institution of Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of the public at large,” said the court in its order.