In yet another lapse by the Supreme Court registry, some of its officials are in the dock for listing a petition jointly filed by Prashant Bhushan, N. Ram and Arun Shourie challenging the validity of criminal contempt before a bench other than the one headed by Justice Arun Mishra which has already taken up similar matters.
According to sources familiar with the development, the issues connected with the wrong listing of the case have been taken up by officials concerned in the top court.
The matter was listed before a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and K.M. Joseph on August 10, but now has been deleted.
According to a senior official, as per practice and procedure in use, the matter should have been listed before the bench, which is already seized with a similar matter, but, had been listed elsewhere by ignoring established practice and procedure. "In this regard, explanation of officials concerned have been called for," said the source.
Senior journalist Ram, former Union Minister Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Bhushan moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, contending it violated Articles 19 and 14 of the Constitution.
The petitioners argued that this sub-section is unconstitutional, as it is incompatible with values in the Preamble and basic features of the Constitution and violates Article 19(1)(a). They claimed the sub-section is unconstitutionally and incurably vague and is manifestly arbitrary.
This petition was filed after the apex court took cognisance of criminal contempt against Bhushan for his two tweets. All the matters were heard by a bench headed by Justice Mishra. The bench had reserved its verdict in the contempt case earlier this week.
However, the bench had dismissed Bhushan's petition against the Secretary General of the court for initiating the proceedings.
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