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Home >News >India >Prashant Bhushan contempt case: SC seeks attorney general’s help on wider issues

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the attorney general’s help to examine larger issues involved in contempt cases with respect to procedures and situations which led to judicial corruption allegations in a 2009 contempt case against Prashant Bhushan.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice AM Khawilkar, deferred the hearing and impleaded attorney general KK Venugopal in the 11-year old contempt case.

The case will be next heard on 12 October.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Bhushan, apprised the bench that Venogopal had mentioned his will to assist the court, for this case, during the previous hearings.

The bench also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna passed directions for the case records to be sent to Venugopal. The court sought help of the attorney general as amicus curie (friend of the court) for assistance in this case.

An amicus curie is one who is not a party to a case but assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case. The decision on whether to consider an amicus brief lies within the discretion of the court.

On 18 August, the top court bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, referred the case to larger bench and sought answers to two questions. The first was “In case you have any grievance against any judge, what should be the process? In what circumstances can such allegations be made?" The second was “When some matter is subjudice, to what extent can the matter be argued through media or another mode?"

“We want to hear (the case) because if the question is left, it will not be good for later on," observed the bench also comprising Justices Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Krishna Murari.

The top court on 10 August had passed an order refusing to accept Bhushan’s “regret" and explanation for his statement in the 2009 case and had ordered that the court shall examine whether the statement by Bhushan prima facie amounts to contempt. The court has now decided to hear the case in detail and ascertain whether or not any comment on corruption against judges would per se amount to contempt.

In 2009, Bhushan had made allegations against former chief justices of India S.H. Kapadia and K.G. Balakrishnan, besides giving controversial remarks against the judiciary, in an interview to Tehelka magazine. The top court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case and a three-judge bench on 10 November 2010 had held that the petition was maintainable.

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