SC seeks AG’s help in 2009 contempt case against Prashant Bhushan and Tarun Tejpal

The Supreme Court Thursday accepted the appeal of activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan to seek assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in a 2009 contempt case against the advocate and journalist Tarun Tejpal.

The top court had in November 2009 issued contempt notices to Bhushan and Tejpal for allegedly casting lies on some sitting and former top court judges in an interview to news magazine ‘Tehelka’. Tejpal was the editor of the magazine.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Bhushan, said “We want the Attorney General to assist this court in dealing with the questions given by us and the court had also framed some questions,” adding that they had given some issues for consideration in the matter.

The bench directed that entire records of the matter be submitted to the office of the Attorney General. Next hearing on the matter will be on October 12.

In the 2009 contempt case, the top court had on August 25 decided to refer the matter to another bench to deal with certain larger issues related to freedom of speech and levelling of corruption charges against the judiciary.

Dhavan had told the court that 10 subjects of constitutional importance have been raised by them and they needed to be dealt with by a constitution bench.

On August 17, the top court had framed certain questions and asked the parties to address it on three issues– whether such statements about corruption against judges or judiciary can be made, in what circumstances they can be made and what is the procedure to be adopted with respect to sitting and retired judges.

Bhushan had also filed 10 questions on his own and sought adjudication by a constitution bench.

He had also given eight other questions related to freedom of speech and expression and the width and scope of stigma powers.

In response to the 2009 contempt case, Bhushan had earlier told the top court that making corruption charges against judges would not amount to contempt of court and mere utterance of corruption charge could not be contempt of court.

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