Prashant Bhushan Contempt of Court Judgement
Prarthana Kumari 9 Sep 2020

Prashant Bhushan Contempt of Court Judgement

Recently, in Prashant Bhushan Contempt of Court case, the Supreme Court of India has held the senior advocate Prashant Bhushan as guilty of Contempt of Court for condemning the judiciary in his two tweets.

In Bhushan’s first tweet, he gave an opinion on the role of the last 4 CJI (Chief Justice of India) with regards to the situation in the country. His second tweet is related to an image of present Chief Justice S A Bobde in which he is sitting on an expensive motorcycle.

These two tweets were considered as Contempt of Court by Supreme Court. The issue was heard by a Bench of 3 judges consisting Justice Arun Mishra, Justice B R Gavai and Justice Krishna Murari and the verdict was reserved by the court on August 25, 2020 when Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave had contended finally.

Contempt of Court Act, 1971

According to Section 2 of Contempt of Court Act, there are two kinds of Contempt i.e. CIVIL and CRIMINAL.

Civil Contempt has been characterized as intentional non-compliance to any order, verdict, judgement, writ or other process of court.

Criminal Contempt has been characterized as the publication of any issue or doing any act regardless of whether by words, written or spoken, or by signs or by visible representation which scandalizes or tends to scandalize or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court, or interferes or tends to interfere in the Administration of Justice.

The SC and HC of India have the right to punish for contempt of court, either with imprisonment for a term of 6 months or with fine upto two thousand or with both.

Court’s Judgement

The SC of India in its judgement imposed Re1 fine on Prasant Bhushan in contempt case against him and also says that, the imprisonment and debarring from practice will produce effect only if Prashant doesn’t pay fine by September 15, 2020. If he doesn’t pay Re1 by September 15, he should go through imprisonment for 3 months & be suspended from practice for 3 years.


The Contempt of Court provision is important to maintain the Supremacy of Judiciary in the eye of people. In the absence of this provision, people will start disobeying the Court decisions fearlessly. The lack of this provision may also damage the powerful image of the judiciary among the citizens of India. However, the expression “Scandalizing the Court” has not been defined clearly and there is a need of provisions which properly define the expression.

On the other hand, the Right to Speech and Expression is fundamental right guaranteed by the Indian Constitution itself. In my point of view, there must be a harmony between the right to speech and the court’s power to punish its criticism. However. The Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression must be talked about more expressly. In a free market each and every wing of the State must be available to public criticism and open analysis. The Judiciary cannot carve an extraordinary status for itself because in India each wing of the state is equal and separate. 

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