Prashant Bhushan, the Advocate and Rights activist has refused to apologise for remarks he made which the Supreme Court had held him in contempt for.
On August 14, a bench with Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari said that the two tweets made by Prashant Bhushan were disrespectful.
On Monday, Prashant told the court in a filed affidavit that his tweets showed the bonafide belief that he continues to hold. He added, “Public expression of these beliefs was I believe, in line with my higher obligations as a citizen and a loyal officer of this court. Therefore, an apology for expression of these beliefs, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere. …If I retract a statement before this court that I otherwise believe to be true or offer an insincere apology, that in my eyes would amount to the contempt of my conscience and of an institution that I hold in the highest esteem.”
On August 20, in the sentencing hearing, the bench provided few days to Prashant Bhushan to reevaluate his tweets and apologise and listed the matter for August 25.
At that time too he said that he did not need more time to reconsider his statements as he stood by his beliefs.
“I believe that the Supreme Court is the last bastion of hope for the protection of fundamental rights, the watchdog institutions and indeed for constitutional democracy itself. It has rightly been called the most powerful court in the democratic world, and often an exemplar for courts across the globe.” He added that in these times of trouble, hopes of Indian people lies in the court to have the rule of law and the constitution instead of an untrammelled rule by the executive. Given the current scenario, he has argued, people like him have a duty to point out any perceived deviations from the court’s “sterling record”.
Bhushan made a similar statement in the first sentencing hearing too, which the bench had not praised. At that time, Prashant said that like M.K. Gandhi he was ready to receive any sort of punishment, as he did not ask for mercy.
Various retired judges of the Supreme court and the High court are highly criticising the Supreme court’s decision of holding Bhushan in contempt.