Prashant Bhushan won’t apologise for tweets, tells SC ‘would be contempt of my conscience’
Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan has declined to apologise for his tweets wherein he criticised the top court and Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde. The tweets represent his bona fide belief and retracting his statements would be an insincere apology, Bhushan said in a statement submitted before the Supreme Court on Monday.
“An apology has to be sincerely made. If I retract a statement that I otherwise believe to be true or offer an insincere apology that in my eyes would amount to contempt of my conscience and of an institution (Supreme Court) that I hold in highest esteem,” the statement said.
On August 20, the Supreme Court had asked Bhushan to reconsider his stance and offer an apology by Monday (August 24) while hearing on the sentence to be awarded to him. Earlier, on August 14, the court had ruled that Bhushan was guilty of contempt of court and kept the matter for deciding on punishment for August 20.
On August 20, Bhushan issued a statement in which he chose to stick to his tweets. He had posted two tweets, one against the Supreme Court on June 27 and another against CJI Bobde on June 29.
Bhushan’s first tweet read, “When historians in the future look back at the last six years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal Emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the SC in this destruction, and more particularly the role of the last four CJIs.”
The second referred to CJI Bobde and said, “The CJI rides a Rs 50-lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] leader at Raj Bhavan, Nagpur, without wearing a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC on lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice!”
Attorney General KK Venugopal, on August 20, asked the court not to punish Bhushan. The court is now expected to pronounce its order in the coming days on the sentence to be imposed on Bhushan.