News Article covered by Ayush Kumar.
Today, Prashant Bhushan whom the Hon’ble Supreme Court found guilty of Contempt of Court, read a statement defending the tweets over which he was convicted.
I can only humbly paraphrase what the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi had said in his trial: I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal to magnanimity. I am here; therefore, to cheerfully submit to any penalty that can lawfully be inflicted upon me for what the Court has determined to be an offence, and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen.- Prashant Bhushan
In the statement, his lawyer expressed that Bhushan was saddened by the Court’s verdict of 14th August which found him guilty of Contempt of Court. The reason not being that he may be punished but that he has been grossly misunderstood. Further, he adds that he is shocked that the court holds him guilty of “malicious, scurrilous, calculated attack” on the institution of administration of justice. Bhushan mentions that the Court has arrived at this conclusion without providing any evidence of my motives to launch such an attack. Also, he was not provided with a copy of the complaint on the basis of which the suo-moto notice was issued nor responded to the specific averments made by him in his reply affidavit or the many submissions of the counsel.
Moreover, Bhushan has stated that he finds it hard to believe that his contentious tweets, which triggered the contempt case, had the effect of destabilizing the Supreme Court. Rather, he repeats that,
These two tweets represented my bonafide beliefs, the expression of which must be permissible in any democracy. Indeed, public scrutiny is desirable for healthy functioning of judiciary itself. I believe that open criticism of any institution is necessary in a democracy, to safeguard the constitutional order.
He goes on saying that public scrutiny is desirable for healthy functioning of the judiciary itself.
Also, that open criticism of any institution is necessary in a democracy, to safeguard the constitutional order. Adding further, he says that failing to speak up would have been a dereliction of duty, especially for an officer of the court like himself. In that backdrop, his tweets were nothing but a small attempt to discharge what he considered to be his highest duty at this juncture in the history of our republic.
“I did not tweet in a fit of absence mindedness. It would be insincere and contemptuous on my part to offer an apology for the tweets that expressed what was and continues to be my bonafide belief.
And with that, his intention becomes crystal clear, and hence this statement holds value in the eyes of law.