Supreme Court Contempt Case Against Prashant Bhushan, Twitter India

A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari will hear the case - via video conference because of the coronavirus lockdown - tomorrow

Supreme Court files contempt proceedings against Twitter India and Prashant Bhushan (File)

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court has begun contempt proceedings against advocate Prashant Bhushan for two tweets, one of which says the four previous Chief Justices of India each played a role in destroying democracy in India in the last six years.

The other accuses sitting Chief Justice SA Bobde of riding a motorcycle - he was photographed on a Harley Davidson in Nagpur last month - without a helmet and face mask, while keeping the court in lockdown and denying citizens their right to justice.

Sources close to the Chief Justice had told NDTV the bike had been brought to him by a dealer and Justice Bobde "only sat on it" for a feel. Sources also said he was wearing a mask but removed it and kept it in his pocket while sitting on the bike.

The top court has also initiated contempt proceedings against social media platform Twitter India in the same matter.

A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari will hear the case - via video conference because of the coronavirus lockdown - tomorrow.

The activist-lawyer has been critical of the top court in recent weeks, singling it out for the way it handled matters related to the migrant crisis that followed the imposition of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

He also made statements relating to the treatment meted out to jailed activists like Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj, who are accused in Bhima-Koregaon case.

Mr Rao, 80, who had been lodged at a jail in Navi Mumbai, tested positive for the coronavirus this week. His family has alleged they were deliberately kept in the dark about his medical condition and called it "illegal, unconstitutional and inhuman".

This is the second time the Supreme Court has begun contempt proceedings against Mr Bhushan. The first was in 2009 after he allegedly cast aspersions on sitting and former judges of the court in an interview to a magazine.

That matter remains pending; according to court records accessed by news agency PTI, it was last heard May 2012.

With input from PTI