Section 2 (C)(1) of Contempt of Courts Act, 1972, got surrounded by a lot of controversies even before the hearing. A three-judge bench consisting of Justice Arun Mishra, B. R. Gavai and Krishna Murthy finally heard the matter as a much fuss got created because of some wrong listing of the matter.
Rajeev Dhawan, a senior advocate, appraised the court that the petitioners i.e. N. Ram (a senior journalist), Arun Shourie (former Union Minister) and advocate Prashant Bhusan, wants to withdraw the plea, seeking the liberty to raise the matter sometime in near future:
“The issue is important but the petitioners would not like to raise the issue at this stage.”
The petition was regarding the Suo moto case taken up by the Supreme Court of the proceedings going on against Bhushan for two of his contentious tweets and another 11-year-old ongoing case against a lawyer over some issue. This petition challenged the validity of Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972 which deems acts that scandalise or lower the authority of courts punishable under criminal contempt of court.
In this matter the petitioner argued that Section 2(1) (c) of the of the Contempt of Courts Act is violative of Article 14 and 19 of the Constitution of India.
“The impugned sub-section is unconstitutional as it is incompatible with preambular values and basic features of the Constitution, it violates Article 19(1)(a), is unconstitutionally and incurably vague, and is manifestly arbitrary.” They also argued that the sub-section “fails the test of over-breadth” and has a negative effect on the right of free speech and expression.