Prashant Bhushan said that an “apology for expression of his beliefs, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere.”
Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, who is held guilty of contempt for his tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and the Supreme Court, on Monday refused to apologise for his remarks even as the top court’s three-day deadline came to an end today.
Prashant Bhushan refuses to apologise
Filing a supplementary reply in the suo motu contempt proceeding before the top court, Bhushan said it’s his bona fide belief that he continues to hold, adding that an “apology for expression of his beliefs, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere.”
“I believe that SC is the last bastion of hope for protection of fundamental rights. If I retract a statement before this court that I otherwise believe to be true or offer an insincere apology, that in my eyes would amount to contempt of my conscience & of an institution that I hold in highest esteem,” he said.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court had granted time till August 24 to Bhushan to reconsider his “defiant statement” refusing to apologise and tender “unconditional apology” for contemptuous tweets against the judiciary and rejected his submission that quantum of punishment be decided by another bench.
The top court had also rejected his submission seeking deferment of the hearing till his yet-to-be-filed review plea against its verdict, which held him guilty of contempt of the court, is decided.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it may now hear the matter on August 25 for considering the “unconditional apology” if filed by Bhushan.
Reminding Bhushan of ‘lakshman rekha’, the top court asked as to why it has been crossed and observed that it has been asked to commit an act of “impropriety” by sending the case to some other bench for hearing the arguments on quantum of sentence in the contempt case.
The apex court, on August 14, had held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt for his two derogatory tweets against the judiciary saying they cannot be said to be a fair criticism of the functioning of the judiciary made in the public interest. He faces simple imprisonment of up to six months or with a fine of up to Rs 2,000 or with both as punishment.