Attorney General KK Venugopal on Thursday declined to grant permission to initiate contempt proceedings against veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai over tweets that were allegedly critical of the Supreme Court in the Prashant Bhushan case, according to several media reports.
The attorney general has to give permission to initiate contempt of court proceedings.
Venugopal, in his letter to the petitioner, said statements made by Sardesai are not of so serious a nature as to undermine the majesty of the Supreme Court or lower its stature in the minds of the public.
BREAKING: AG KK Venugopal declines consent for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against @sardesairajdeep for a series of statements made on Twitter. #CriminalContempt #ContemptofCourt #SupremeCourtOfIndia pic.twitter.com/EnHiAUhPV7
" Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) September 17, 2020
"Trifling remarks and mere passing criticism though perhaps distasteful are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution," said the attorney general.
As per a report in The Hindu, the plea filed by one Astha Khurana through her lawyer Om Prakash Parihar, claimed that statements made by Sardesai are a "deliberate attempt to erode public faith and confidence in the judiciary".
Breaking: Rs 1 token fine imposed by SC on @pbhushan1 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.
" Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 31, 2020
Breaking: @pbhushan1 held guilty of contempt by SC, 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! 🙏
" Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 14, 2020
The plea alleged that the tweets were of serious nature creating a question mark on the "sovereign function of the Supreme Court and their abiding nature to the Constitution".
"The respondent (Sardesai) has wilfully disobeyed the decision of this Hon'ble Court and their conduct is contumacious. Therefore, a serious view of the conduct of the respondent is required to be taken for ensuring proper administration of justice," The Hindu quoted the petitioner as saying in the plea.
On 14 August, the top court had held Bhushan guilty over two tweets posted on 29 June and had convicted him for contempt of court and fined him a token amount of Re 1 on 31 August.
Last month, Venugopal refused a petition seeking his nod to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against actor Swara Bhaskar for her alleged "derogatory" remarks on the Supreme Court's verdict in the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi case.
Venugopal had said that her statement on the Ram Janmabhoomi appeared to be "a factual one" and is her perception of the issue, while another of her statements was a vague statement not related to any particular court.
"I do not think this is a case where the offence of scandalising of court or of lowering the authority of the court would arise," he had said.
With inputs from PTI