Prashant Bhushan gets support from activists in contempt plea case

NEW DELHI: The contempt proceedings initiated against lawyer Prashant Bhushan appear to be an assault on freedom of speech and expression says ten social activists who have come out in support of him.

The activists have filed an application to intervene in the case. The activists including Aruna Roy, Arundhati Roy and Shailesh Gandhi, have said in their application that they were “concerned” about initiation of the contempt proceeding against Mr Bhushan for exercising his ”freedom of speech” without fear.

The social activists in their application stated that “It appears that the initiation of present contempt proceedings are an assault on the freedom of speech and expression of the citizen of this country and an attempt to stifle this right by using the power of contempt.”

Wajahat Habibullah, Harsh Mander, Jayati Ghosh, Prabhat Patnaik, Indu Prakash Singh, Bezwada Wilson and Nikhil Dey are among the other applicants who have sought to intervene in the matter.

The Supreme Court had earlier issued the notice to advocate Prashant Bhushan in connection with a contempt plea filed by Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal and the Centre.

In their plea, Venugopal and the Centre said that Bhushan, in his tweets, claimed that the AG and the government have “willfully and deliberately” mislead the court by producing fabricated documents and gave false statements in a case challenging the appointment of then interim CBI chief M Nageshwar Rao.

Venugopal told a bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha that Bhushan’s claims bear negative implications on him as the AG, arguing that Bhushan should not have gone public with his remarks.