Advocate Prashant Bhushan has filed a supplementary affidavit before the Supreme Court, refusing to tender an apology with respect to the statements made by him over Twitter, in connection to the functioning of the Supreme Court as well as the CJI.
Bhushan said that the remarks made by him were a “constructive criticism” of the Court and therefore, retracting the same would amount to tendering and “insincere apology”.
He stressed that as an officer of the court, he has a duty to “speak up” when he believes that the Judicial institution is deviating from its sterling record.
“Therefore I expressed myself in good faith, not to malign the Supreme Court or any particular Chief Justice, but to offer constructive criticism so that the court can arrest any drift away from its long-standing role as a guardian of the Constitution and custodian of peoples’ rights,” he said.
He said that he made bonafide remarks with full details. However, the same has “not been dealt with by the Court”. Thus, declining to tender an apology Bhushan said,
“My tweets represented this bonafide belief that I continue to hold. 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 the expression of these beliefs, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere. An apology cannot be a mere incantation and any apology has to, as the court has itself put it, be sincerely made.
“This is especially so when I have made the statements bonafide and pleaded truths with full details, which have not been dealt with by the Court. 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 highest esteem.
Prashant Bhushan was convicted by the Supreme Court for criminal contempt of court over his tweets against the judiciary and CJI SA Bobde.
Bhushan Added further
“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. Today in these troubling times, the hopes of the people of India vest in this Court to ensure the rule of law and the Constitution and not an untrammeled rule of the executive.”
The bench had earlier asked Bhushan to take few days time and reconsider the statement, and posted the matter for hearing on August 25.