K.K. Venugopal was present during the entire hearing on Thursday
The Supreme Court has published a “revised” order in the advocate Prashant Bhushan suo motu contempt case, this time prominently featuring the name of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.
The order copy published initially on the court’s official website on Thursday had not shown Mr. Venugopal’s name even though the top law officer was present during the entire hearing and had even urged the court against punishing the civil rights lawyer for his tweets.
Mr. Venugopal was present after the court issued notice to him when it initiated the suo motu proceedings against Mr. Bhushan for his tweet about a photograph of Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde astride a heavy bike and another on how posterity would perceive the role played by the Supreme Court in the past six years. He was found guilty of contempt by scandalising the court on August 14.
On Thursday, Mr. Bhushan sought neither mercy nor magnanimity from the court. He, in a short statement, told the court he would cheerfully submit to the punishment, whatever it may be.
The court reserved its judgment but gave an opportunity to Mr. Bhushan to tender an “unconditional apology” by August 24.
During the hearing, Mr. Venugopal stressed that Mr. Bhushan has “done tremendous amount of public good”.
“You have convicted him but do not punish him”, Mr. Venugopal told the court.
In February 2019, Mr. Venugopal had himself as Attorney General filed a contempt petition against Mr. Bhushan for his tweets alleging that the government through the top law officer misled the court about the appointment of M. Nageshwar Rao as interim CBI Director.
“The attack on the Attorney General in such a brazen, wilful and malicious would tend to shake the very foundation of the justice delivery system”, that contempt petition had said. The tweets had cast aspersions on the dignity of a law officer.
Mr. Bhushan later refused to apologise in court but said the tweets were a “genuine mistake”.
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