Television and print media discussions of matters pending before the court influence judges' thinking and do great damage to the judicial institution, Attorney General KK Venugopal said today, noting that the issue had assumed menacing proportions today.
"When a bail application comes up for hearing, TV flashes conversations between the accused and someone, and that is damaging to the accused and comes up during the bail hearing," Mr Venugopal said before a Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari. "This is contempt of court," he added.
Mr Venugopal was giving his views in the context of examining if lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan's controversial remarks in 2009 against three former Chief Justices of India amounted to contempt. Mr Bhushan had passed the remarks in an interview with Tehelka magazine.
The court had on August 10 refused to accept a "regret" and explanation from him and said it will examine if Mr Bhushan's statements amounted to contempt prima facie.
The bench is considering issues such the procedure to express grievance against a judge and under what circumstances. It is also looking into the extent to which a matter sub judice may be discussed in the media. The Supreme Court had sought Mr Venugopal's help on these matters.
The bench will now take up the case further on November 4.