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New Delhi:

 
The Supreme Court on Monday said that it will hear in detail whether any comment on corruption against judges tantamount to contempt of court or not, adding that it will hear the 2009 contempt case against lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that it has decided to hear whether the remarks made by Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan against the higher judiciary in a Tehelka magazine interview is “per se contempt”.

The top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on August 17.

Last week, the apex court had said it would go on to hear the case if “we do not accept the explanation/apology of Bhushan”.

On August 4, the Supreme Court had said it had not received the apology submitted by Bhushan and reserved its order in the 2009 contempt case against him.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had said: “We have heard the counsel for the parties at some length. Explanation/apology submitted by Prashant Bhushan/Respondent No. 1 and Tarun Tejpal/Respondent No. 2 have not been received so far.”

The bench added: “In case we do not accept the explanation/apology, we will hear the matter. We reserve the order.”

In an earlier hearing, taking up the 2009 contempt of court case, the apex court observed that there is a “thin line between free speech and contempt”, adding that the issue now is how to save the system’s grace and bring the matter to an end as well.

The bench asked Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Bhushan, to suggest ways to resolve this matter. Justice Mishra had told Dhavan: “Can you suggest some way to avoid this rigmarole? You can resolve it.”

In response, Dhavan had said that Bhushan had already provided an explanation on the matter.

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