SC Registry Officials in Dock for Listing Prashant Bhushan's Case Before a Different Bench

Utkarsh Anand
·2-min read

Some officials of the Supreme Court registry are in the dock for listing a petition filed jointly by Prashant Bhushan, N Ram and Arun Shourie before a different bench when similar matters were already being heard by Justice Arun Mishra-led composition.

According to sources in the top court, a serious view has been taken of the "wrongful" listing of the matter on August 10 before a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph.

It was noted that the pertinent rules and procedures were flouted in listing this petition, requiring explanations from the officials involved in the concerned section of the registry.

"As per practice and procedure in use, the said matter should have been listed before the bench which is already seized with similar matters but it has been listed ignoring established practice and procedure. In this regard, explanations of concerned officials have been called," said a senior officer in the Supreme Court.

The matter has now been deleted from Justice Chandrachud's bench.

The petition, filed by lawyer Bhushan along with noted journalist N Ram and former Union minister Arun Shourie, has pleaded for declaring as unconstitutional a relevant provision in the contempt law that makes "scandalising" courts as a penal offence.

This petition was filed soon after the Supreme Court had taken a suo motu congnisance of criminal contempt against Bhushan for his two tweets.

Subsequently, Bhushan had filed one more petition questioning the basis of initiation of the contempt proceedings against him.

All these matters were heard by a bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, which reserved its judgment in the contempt case on August 5.

Bhushan's petition against the Secretary General of the court for initiating the proceedings was, however, dismissed.

Interestingly, Bhushan has in the past raised questions over listing certain cases before Justice Arun Mishra. This time, however, the Supreme Court administration is the one questioning the listing of Bhushan's matter before a particular bench.