Lawyer activist Prashant Bhushan has been held guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court over his tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
The Congress today subtly suggested introspection by the judiciary regarding the case involving lawyer activist Prashant Bhushan, saying the law “has to be even-handed, balanced and fair minded”. Mr Bhushan has been held guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court over his tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde. He has been given two days’ time to reconsider his stance.
Asked about the matter today during a press conference, the Congress’s Abhishek Singhvi, who is also a senior advocate, said: “The law has to be even-handed, balanced and fair minded. There are former judges who have raised the issues and even now there is a demand for larger benches”.
Mr Bhushan has said that he believes “open criticism is necessary to safeguard democracy and his values” and that his tweets were an attempt to better the institution of judiciary.
He has also refused to apologise to the court, saying he would accept punishment.
“My tweets were a small attempt to discharge what I consider my highest duty. Apologising would also be dereliction of my duty. I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal for magnanimity. I cheerfully submit to any punishment that court may impose,” Mr Bhushan told the court.
Asked to reconsider his statement by the judges, he said: “I may reconsider it if my lordships want but there won’t be any substantial change”.
Mr Bhushan’s counsel Rajeev Dhavan pointed out that his statement has been supported by Justices RM Lodha, Kurien Joseph and AP Shah. “Are they all in contempt now? They have all said procedure you followed was wrong. More than 10,000 people have supported Bhushan,” he told the court.
To this, Justice Gavai, who was part of the three-judge bench, said Justice Lodha’s comment was “only on the point of procedure”.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was present for the hearing, asked the court not to punish Mr Bhushan, said, “I have a list of five judges who talked about lack of democracy in the Supreme Court I have a list of nine judges who talked about judicial corruption. Many judges have said it”.
Justice Arun Mishra, however, pointed out that it was not a review of the case.
Maintaining that freedom of speech is not absolute, Justice Mishra said, “You may do hundreds of good things, but that doesn’t give you a license to do ten crimes”.