The Supreme Court said today that it will hear in July, a contempt plea against lawyer Prashant Bhushan for tweeting that the government had perhaps submitted fabricated documents of the high-powered selection panel on the appointment of interim CBI chief to the top court. The plea was filed by Attorney General K K Venugopal.
The matter came up for hearing before a bench of justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha. The court said it would hear the case in July since both Mr Venugopal and Mr Bhushan were arguing in another matter before a Constitution bench.
Mr Venugopal had earlier told the court that he would like to withdraw his contempt plea since Mr Bhushan has made a statement that it was a "genuine mistake".
He had also reiterated that he does not want any punishment for Mr Bhushan in the case and the court should deal with the larger issue of whether lawyers and litigants can criticise the court proceedings in a matter, which is sub-judice, to influence public opinion.
However, the bench had told Mr Venugopal, "You may or may not withdraw the petition against him, but you have raised a question and we will decide it".
On March 7, Mr Bhushan had admitted "genuine mistake" in his tweets but had refused to tender an "unconditional apology" for seeking recusal of Justice Mishra from hearing the matter.
In his tweets, Mr Bhushan had said that the Centre appeared to have misled the top court and perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the meeting of the high-powered selection committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a matter related to the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as then interim CBI director.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the bench on March 7 that he would seek instructions on whether to press the separate contempt plea filed by the Centre against Mr Bhushan in the wake of the Attorney General's stand that he would like to withdraw his contempt petition.