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Published On: Thu, Sep 17th, 2020

AG, Venugopal declines to give consent to initiate contempt against Rajdeep for tweets against SC

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rajdeep-venu (1)NEW DELHI : Attorney General K K Venugopal on Thursday said that the reputation of the Supreme Court has been built assiduously for over 70 years and trifling remarks and passing criticism, though perhaps distasteful, are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution.
he A-G made the observation while declining to grant consent for initiating contempt proceedings against journalist Ranjeep Sardesai.  “I have given careful consideration to the tweets. I find that the statements made by Sardesai are not of so serious a nature as to undermine the majesty of the Supreme Court or lower its stature in the minds of the public,” he said.

Rejecting the request to prosecute Mr Sardesai, the attorney general said, “Trifling remarks and mere passing criticism though perhaps distasteful are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution.”
Last month, Mr Venugopal declined permission to an advocate to file a contempt plea against actor Swara Bhasker for comments on the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Babri Masjid and Ayodhya land dispute case.
Under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, consent from the Attorney General or Solicitor General was required to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against anyone. Earlier, both the A-G and the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had declined to grant t…
Advocate Omprakash Parihar made a request to the Attorney General to give his consent, as mandated under the the Contempt of Courts Act, for initiating proceedings against Sardesai for his tweets against the Supreme Court.
The petitioner had reportedly mentioned a number of tweets by the journalist on the day the court fined Mr Bhushan ₹ 1 for his social media posts on the judiciary and the Chief Justice.

 

 Cases for contempt have drawn increased public interest after lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan was held guilty of the same charge last month that have stoked discussions on free speech and dissent. Mr Bhushan, the court ruled, had crossed a line in making comments about the judiciary.
 Mr Bhushan, in his defence, said he considered his tweets “as an attempt for working for the betterment of the institution”, and that open criticism was necessary to safeguard democracy in India.
The attorney general, who had himself filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Mr Bhushan last year for comments on the appointment of former interim chief of CBI M Nageswara Rao, this time, urged the court to ignore the veteran lawyer’s tweets.
(With Agency Inputs).
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