The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to accept explanation from advocate Prashant Bhushan's for allegedly casting aspersions on Chief Justice S H Kapadia and decided to initiate contempt proceedings against him.
A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir said it would hear the contempt proceedings against Bhushan on merit as the latter had refused to tender an apology for giving an interview to a magazine in which he had claimed that several former chief justices were corrupt.
Bhushan stated in his explanation that his remarks on the CJI were misconstrued. He had further said that his explanation was sufficient to put an end to any misunderstanding.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, the counsel for Bhushan, submitted that continuation of the proceedings would open the "Pandora Box." Jethmalani turned down the court's offer to tender an apology and said, "Extracting an apology was not a solution." "If there is a threat of contempt and if he (Bhushan) submits, it's moral cowardice," he added.
"There should be an element of regret," the Bench stated while expressing its intention to proceed with the case.
"People would suffer for talking the truth but now millions of people are ready to go behind the bars on contempt petitions," Jethmalani said, to which the court replied: "If it is so, be it so." Bhushan is facing contempt proceedings for his interview to "Tehelka" magazine in which he said that the CJI should not have been a part of the special forest bench hearing the matter related to Vedanta Sterlite Group as he owned the shares of the company. Twenty-five civil society activists have moved the SC seeking intervention in the contempt proceedings.