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

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Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, who represented the petitioners, sought the permission of the court to withdraw the petition citing pendency of similar cases against Prashant Bhushan before the top court.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2020 15:01 IST

A view of the Supreme Court. A view of the Supreme Court. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

Union minister Arun Shourie, activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan and journalist N Ram withdrew their petition before the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the law criminalising contempt of court.

Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, who represented the petitioners, sought the permission of the court to withdraw the petition citing pendency of similar cases against Prashant Bhushan before the top court.

“The issue is important. But since there are cases pending before your lordship entangled with this matter, we will approach at a later stage,” Rajeev Dhavan told a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.

The Supreme Court agreed but on the condition that the petitioners will not approach the Supreme Court at a later stage raising the same issue. The bench said that they could move the High Court later.

Dhavan agreed and the court allowed him to withdraw the case.

Ram, Bhushan and Shourie had challenged section 2(1)(c) of Contempt of Courts Act which criminalises publication of any matter that could scandalise or lower authority of courts. They contended that the provision is violative of freedom of speech under Article 19 of the Constitution.

The listing of the case had caused a major controversy because of pendency of two criminal contempt cases against one of the petitioners, Prashant Bhushan before a bench of Justice Arun Mishra.

The petition by Ram, Shourie and Bhushan was, however, initially listed before a bench of justice DY Chandrachud.

The Supreme Court then sought an explanation from registry officials on the ground that the fresh petition should have also been posted before Justice Arun Mishra since the three petitioners had sought a stay on proceedings against Bhushan in other contempt cases.

Eventually, the matter was deleted from the bench of Justice Chandrachud and posted before Justice Arun Mishra.

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