Supreme Court has clarified that it has not initiated any suo moto criminal contempt proceedings against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and it was an “inadvertent mistake” by the registry. Last year, a plea was filed against Sardesai seeking contempt proceedings allegedly over his “disrespectful tweets” against the judiciary.
“This is in context with news item being flashed in some news channels about initiating suo moto criminal contempt proceeding against Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai by Supreme court, it is made clear that no such proceeding has been initiated against Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai . However status shown at Supreme Court website vide case no. SMC (Crl) 02/2021 has been placed inadvertently. Appropriate action to rectify the same is under process,” said the statement issued by the Supreme Court.
The top court stated that the information about contempt proceedings against the journalist inadvertently and appropriate action to rectify the same is under process.
The official website showed that the court has initiated criminal contempt proceedings over a plea filed by a law student.
A Noida-based law student named Aastha Khurana had moved the top court in September 2020. Initially, Attorney General KK Venugopal had denied consent to initiate contempt proceedings against journalist Sardesai.
She had moved a representation before AG Venugopal under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act and Rule 3 of Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court.
As per Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act and Rule 3 of Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court, the consent of the Attorney General or Solicitor General is required before the Supreme Court can hear criminal contempt proceedings plea filed by a private individual.
AG Venugopal refused to grant his consent for the criminal proceedings and replied that Sardesai’s tweets were not of a serious nature so as to undermine the majesty of the court or lower its stature in the minds of the public.
The petition filed by Khurana Stated, “not only did Sardesai question the credibility of this Hon’ble Court judgment, but he has also passed various comments against the Ex-Judges and Ex-Chief Justice of India in past and have also tried to teach the Hon’ble Judges their duties and responsibilities.”
During Prashant Bhusan’s conviction for contempt of court on August 14, 2020, Sardesai 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.”
“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,” said another tweet of journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.