Supreme Court reserves sentencing of Prashant Bhushan in contempt case

Advocate Dhavan who is appearing for Bhushan reminded the court that - All of us are troubled by what has happened in this Court in the last 6 years. I am proud of many judgements of this Court, but I am also not proud of many judgements of this Court

contempt

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra on Tuesday reserved judgment on the sentence in the suo moto contempt case against Advocate Prashant Bhushan over his tweets. The bench heard arguments of Attorney General KK Venugopal, who sought forgiveness for Bhushan.

“Tell us what is wrong in using the word ‘apology’? What is wrong in seeking apology? Will that be a reflection of the guilty? Apology is a magical word, which can heal many things. I am talking generally and not about Prashant. You will go to the category of Mahatma Gandhi if you apologise. Gandhiji used to do that. If you have hurt anybody, you must apply the balm. One should not feel belittled by that”, observed Justice Mishra while reserving Judgment

Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who was appearing for Prashant Bhushan in the case, reminded the bench, “When Justice Mishra was in Kolkata High Court and Mamata Banerjee said the court is corrupt, Justice Bagchi wrote the judgment but Justice Mishra said as her position is that of a politician, we will not punish.”

“If a Mamata Banerjee could be let off because everything she said was in the public domain,” said Dhavan, seeking pardon for Prashant Bhushan.

He also said, “Don’t make Prashant Bhushan a martyr.”

Ahead of the sentencing, the Supreme Court granted 30 minutes to activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan to ‘think over’ his allegations against the judiciary and his stand to not express regret over his tweets against the court and CJI SA Bobde.

Supreme Court granted another opportunity to Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday after Attorney General KK Venugopal sought forgiveness for the activist-lawyer.

“He (Bhushan) should withdraw all statements and express regret,” said AG Venugopal when the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra sought his views on the ‘defiant’ statement of Prashant Bhushan.

Prashant Bhushan has refused to offer an apology to the Supreme Court for his two tweets against the judiciary, saying what he expressed represented his bona fide belief which he continued to hold.

“Bhushan says the Supreme Court has collapsed, is it not objectionable,” the Justice Mishra bench asked AG Venugopal who went on with his appeal of pardoning Prashant Bhushan in the contempt case.

He further noted that the convicting judgement contained “half-truths and contradictions”. Observations on the August 20 Order of the Supreme Court were submitted by Dhavan before the Court as he stated that the Order giving time to Bhushan to apologize gave the impression that Bhushan was being coerced to give an apology and it was an “exercise of coercion.

“An apology cannot be made to escape the clutches of law. An apology has to be sincere”, submitted Dhavan.

“If Bhushan’s statement is read as a whole, it says he has the highest respect for the judiciary, but has a critical opinion about four Chief Justices

All of us are troubled by what has happened in this Court in the last 6 years. I am proud of many judgements of this Court, but I am also not proud of many judgements of this Court”, stated Dhavan.

In the present controversy, many persons like Justices Lokur, Kurian Joseph, Arun Shourie etc. have made comments in the public domain.

“Are they also in contempt?”Dhavan submitted that there was no question of withdrawal of Bhushan’s statements or exorcising his Affidavit from the record, which was a part of his defence.

Earlier this month, Supreme Court convicted Prashant Bhushan in the contempt of court case over two of his tweets criticising the judiciary.

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