Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan – 63 was held guilty of contempt for his tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and the Supreme Court. After hearing arguments on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to Bhushan last week, the apex court reserved its order and giving hime till today to apologise. The Court wanted an unconditional apology and gave him a few days to “reconsider” his statement at the hearing last Thursday.
He, however, firmly stood his ground and denied an apology as the three day granted window expired today. “I expressed myself in good faith, not to malign the Supreme Court or any particular Chief Justice, but to offer constructive criticism so that court can arrest any drift away from its long-standing role as guardian of Constitution and custodian of people’s rights,” Prashant Bhushan said in his supplementary statement. Thus, making it clear to the court that he didn’t want to apologise and further went on to state that in this “moment of history,” this was his “responsibility to the future.” He said that he would consult his lawyer but didn’t expect any ‘substantial change’.
“Retracting the statement or offering insincere apology would amount to contempt of my conscience,” Prashant Bhushan told the three-judge bench hearing the case. I did not tweet in a fit of absent mindedness. It would be insincere and contemptuous on my part to offer an apology for the tweets that expressed what was and continues to be my bonafide belief.” He added. He further said that an apology cannot be a mere incantation invocation and any apology has to, as the court has itself put it, be sincerely made.
“If I retract a statement before this court that I otherwise believe to be true offer an insincere apology, that in my eyes would amount to the contempt of my conscience and of an institution I hold in highest esteem,” he told the three-judge bench hearing the case today. . Retracting now would be a “contempt of my conscience” and the court, said the lawyer-activist, who earlier said that would cheerfully accept punishment.