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“Contempt Of My Conscience”: Prashant Bhushan Refuses To Apologize To SC

Mr. Bhushan told the court that the tweets represented a bonafide belief that he holds and an apology, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere.

As the three days window given to Prashant Bhushan in the contempt of court ended today, the senior lawyer and activist has refused to retract or apologize for his two tweets criticising the current and earlier CJIs.

Mr. Bhushan told the court that the tweets represented a bonafide belief that he holds and an apology, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere. Retracting now “contempt of my conscience” and the court, Bhushan said, who had earlier expressed that would cheerfully accept punishment.
The two tweets in question were an expression of his beliefs, and open criticism is required in a healthy democracy, Bhushan reiterated.

Bhushan was held guilty of contempt of court on August 14 over his two tweets by the bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai, and Krishna Murari. One of those tweets was about Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde riding a motorcycle without a mask during the pandemic, while the other tweet criticized the SC over the perceived deterioration in India’s democracy and the role of former CJIs in letting that happen.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave represented Bhushan in this case.

Earlier, Justice Arun Mishra offered to give Bhushan a few days’ time so he could “rethink his statement” after Bhushan’s lawyers had argued in his defence, holding that his tweets should not be regarded as contempt at all. Bhushan’s pro bono work was admirable and would work in his favour during sentencing, the judge added.

“I don’t want to reconsider the statement. As regards giving time, I don’t think it will serve any useful purpose,” Bhushan said refusing the offer for more time. He also stressed that his remarks were “well-considered” and he was unlikely to change them in a few days.

However, the bench decided to give time to Bhushan to reconsider before the final verdict on sentencing. Meanwhile, Dave has been asked to complete the legal arguments today.

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