The Supreme Court has registered a suo motu criminal contempt case against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai for his August 2020 tweets critiquing the judiciary, reported Bar and Bench.
The case was registered by the Supreme Court based on a petition by Aastha Khurana. Earlier, Attorney General KK Venugopal had refused to grant consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Sardesai, the report added. The petition was filed by Khurana in September 2020, and has only now been registered as a suo motu criminal contempt case.
On 14 August, the day advocate Prashant Bhushan was convicted for contempt of court, Sardesai had tweeted: “Prashant Bhushan held guilty of contempt by Supreme Court, sentence to be pronounced on August 20. This even as habeas corpus petitions of those detained in Kashmir for more than a year remain pending.”
Later, when the top court imposed a sentence of Re 1 on Bhushan on August 31, Sardesai posted the following tweet: “Rs 1 token fine imposed by SC on Prashant Bhushan in contempt case. If he doesn’t pay it, then 3 months jail sentence. Clearly, court looking to wriggle out of an embarrassment of its own making. … SC has no authority to debar practice- 5 Judge Bench ruling of SC in VC Misra’s case. Why can’t SC apologise and be done with it!”
Khurana also referred to older tweets in which Sardesai allegedly cast aspersions on Justice Arun Mishra, who had heard Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case, and former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.