Prashant Bhushan admits mistake in SC; AG withdraws contempt plea
New Delhi: Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Thursday admitted before the Supreme Court that he made a "genuine mistake" by tweeting that the government had perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of a meeting of the high-powered selection committee on appointment of M Nageswara Rao as an interim CBI director.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha that in view of Bhushan's statement, he would like to withdraw his contempt plea filed against the noted lawyer. However, Bhushan filed an application in the court seeking recusal of Justice Arun Mishra from hearing the contempt petition filed by Venugopal.
Bhushan also refused to tender an unconditional apology before the bench for seeking Justice Mishra's recusal.
Venugopal told the court that he stood by his earlier statement that he did not want any punishment for Bhushan in the matter. The bench, however, said it would consider the larger issue of whether a person can criticise the court in a sub- judice matter to influence public opinion.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on April 3. The top court had earlier said that it would examine if a person can criticise the court in a sub-judice matter to influence the public opinion which may interfere with the course of justice and added that now-a-days it has become a trend for the lawyers appearing in a sub-judice matter to make statements in the media and participate in TV debates.
It had said the court is not averse to media reporting of cases but lawyers appearing in sub-judice matters should restrain themselves from making public statements.