Supreme Court seeks explanation on listing of Prashant Bhushan’s criminal contempt plea
Hours after the explanation was sought, an updated list of cases showed that the case will no longer be heard by the justice DY Chandrachud-led bench.Updated: Aug 09, 2020 13:04 IST
The Supreme Court has asked its registry officials to explain why a petition filed by journalist N Ram, former Union minister Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan challenging the validity of contempt of court law was listed before a bench headed by justice DY Chandrachud instead of another bench already hearing similar matters, people aware of the matter said. Hours after the explanation was sought, an updated list of cases showed that the case will no longer be heard by the justice Chandrachud-led bench.
Bhushan is facing contempt proceedings in two cases for his alleged remarks against the court and the Chief Justice of India. Those cases were heard and reserved for judgment on August 4 and 5 by a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.
“The registry has committed yet another mistake in the listing of a matter challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act. As per the practice and procedure, the matter should have been listed before the bench which is already seized of similar matter but it has been listed ignoring established practice and procedure,” a person said on condition of anonymity.
According to a list on the Supreme Court website uploaded on August 6, the plea was listed before a bench of justices Chandrachud and KM Joseph and was slated to be heard on August 10. “In this regard, explanation of concerned officials has been called,” the person added.
Bhushan could not be reached for comment.
“The master of the roster is the Chief Justice. It is unclear as to whether the explanation was sought by the Chief Justice or by any particular judge. The registry official may well have gone by the roster that assigned questions of Constitutional validity to one bench, while a particular instance of contempt was being heard by some other bench. Surely it is no one’s case that everything related to the court’s contempt jurisdiction is assigned to one bench alone,” said senior counsel Sanjay Hegde.