SC allows Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie, and N Ram to withdraw plea on contempt law

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: August 13, 2020 1:10:01 pm

Editors Guild condemns AG's assertion that media used 'stolen' Rafale documentsPrashant Bhushan and Arun Shourie. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The Supreme Court Thursday allowed activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, former Union minister Arun Shourie, and veteran journalist N Ram to withdraw their plea challenging the constitutional validity of a legal provision dealing with criminal contempt for “scandalising the authority of any court”.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Bhushan, informed a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra that they want to withdraw the plea as several petitions on the same issue were pending before the apex court while seeking liberty to approach the top court again, maybe after two months.

During the brief hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, allowed the petition to be withdrawn with liberty to the petitioners to approach the appropriate judicial forum, except the apex court.

Bhushan, along with N Ram and Shourie, had filed a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, saying it was violative of freedom of speech and right to equality. This provision defines what amounts to criminal contempt: publication of any matter that “scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court”.

The top court is also hearing the criminal contempt of court case against Bhushan over remarks made in an interview to Tehelka magazine in 2009. The court will next hear the matter on August 17.

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