He said he regretted that he did not notice the motorcycle was on a stand when he tweeted on CJI SA Bobde riding a Rs 50-lakh bike “without a helmet”.
In a 134-page long affidavit on criminal contempt, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan has apologized for only one thing. He said he regretted that he did not notice the motorcycle was on a stand when he tweeted on CJI SA Bobde riding a Rs 50-lakh bike “without a helmet”.
Other than that, Bhushan, in his response to the Supreme Court’s notice of criminal contempt, has not even once mentioned “regret” or “apology” in his extensive affidavit and rather stood firm on his assertions regarding last four CJIs and their alleged role in the destruction of democratic values.
“At the outset, I admit that I did not notice that the bike was on a stand and therefore wearing a helmet was not required. I, therefore, regret that part of my tweet. However, I stand by the remaining part of what I have stated in my tweet,” his affidavit read.
While justifying his statements regarding an alleged failure by the judiciary, Bhushan cited examples ranging from Sahara-Birla diary case to judge Loya death, from Kahiko Pul suicide case to medical admission scam, from Master of Roster controversy to NRC in Assam, from abrogation of Article 370 to Citizenship Amendment Act.
The affidavit further states, “democracy has been substantially destroyed during the last six years; by its acts of commissions and omissions, the Supreme Court has allowed the emasculation of our democracy; and the role played by the last four CJIs has been very critical in the above mentioned process”.
Stressing that his tweet about CJI Bobde riding a motorcycle was to underline his anguish at the non-physical functioning of the Supreme Court for last more than 3 months, with hardly any cases being effectively heard, Prashant said this impeded access to justice.
He also went on to add that Chief Justice is not the Court and a bona fide critique of the actions of the CJI cannot and do not scandalise the Court.
“To assume and suggest that ‘CJI is the SC, and SC is the CJI’, is to undermine the institution of SC,” the affidavit said.
“This of course is my bonafide opinion which people can and may disagree with. In any healthy democracy, there needs to be a free and frank discussion about the role of any and every institution, especially an institution as critical as the Supreme Court,” Bhushan told the court.
The suo motu contempt case will be heard by the bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra on August 5.