I do not ask for mercy: Prashant Bhushan on contempt case

Prashant Bhushan, a legal activist and public interest litigation lawyer was praised on social media for his statements in SC while appearing for a case of contempt, for his two tweets . While talking to a bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari, Bhushan made it clear on Thursday that he won’t apologise for his tweets.

“I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal for magnanimity. I cheerfully submit to any punishment that court may impose,” he said. He further said his tweets were out of bona fide attempt to discharge his duty as a citizen. Critics of India’s Supreme Court (SC) and many others hailed Bhushan and called him “hero of our times” and condemn Mishra-led Bench for choking dissent and democratic debate.

The court on Friday said it would announce the full quantum of punishment on August 20, but after Bhushan statements which court called “defiant’’ , the SC has given him time to think over his opinion till 24th of August.

“Criminal contempt has serious consequence . But we want him to reconsider and have sense of remorse,” News 18 quoted Justice Mishra as having said.

The SC bench found two tweets made by Prashant Bhushan to be in contempt of court. One was regarding a photo of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde riding a motorcycle that Bhushan shared, commenting on the fact that the CJI was not wearing a mask despite the pandemic.

The second tweet was about the deteriorating state of Indian democracy and the role of the six CJIs. As per the SC, not taking action against the tweets could “affect the (India’s) national honour and prestige in the comity of nations.”

Rajeev Dhavan , lawyer of Bhushan, said he has provided a bona fide justification of his tweet and it is unclear how it brings down majesty of judiciary, read the News 18 report.

Around 3000 people of import including 12 former Judges have signed a statement in solidarity with Bhushan and criticized the court of “guilty” verdict. Renowned economist Arun Shourie also felt that a 108 page guilty verdict reflect insecurity of India’s judiciary and how weak it has become, he said in an interview with The wire.

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