Prashant Bhushan admits ‘genuine mistake’, AG withdraws plea

Prashant Bhushan admits ‘genuine mistake’, AG withdraws plea

Agency News

Dehli: In a rare legal battle, the Advocate General KK Venugopal has withdrawn on Thursday his contempt petition against senior Supreme Court advocate, Prashant Bhushan.

KK Venugopal’s contempt plea was against the Prashant Bhushan’s tweets allegedly criticising the court on the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as interim CBI director. Attorney General KK Venugopal told a bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha that in view of Bhushan's statement, he would like to withdraw his contempt plea against the noted lawyer.

Earlier, Prashant Bhushan admitted before the Supreme Court that he had made a "genuine mistake" by tweeting that the government had perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of meeting of the high-powered selection committee on the appointment of Rao.

However, Bhushan filed an application in the court seeking recusal of Justice Arun Mishra from hearing the contempt petition by Venugopal. Bhushan also refused to tender an unconditional apology before the bench for seeking Justice Mishra's recusal.

Senior lawyer, Dushant Dave, representing Prashant Bhushan, told the court that after hearing the Attorney General's statement, he is apologizing on behalf of his colleague and also withdrawing the recusal petition against Justice Arun Mishra from hearing the contempt case.

But Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha insisted that instead of Dave, Prashant Bhushan should come forward and apologize. The latter, however, refused to do so and said he won't withdraw his plea seeking recusal of Justice Mishra.

KK Venugopal, however, told the bench that he stood by his earlier statement that he did not want any punishment for Prashant Bhushan in the matter. The bench said that now it would consider the larger issue of whether a person can criticise the court, when a case is subjudice, to influence public opinion.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 3.

Prashant Bhushan had filed an application seeking the recusal of Justice Mishra from hearing the contempt petition filed by Venugopal. UNI