Contempt of court: SC gives Prashant Bhushan two days time to reconsider statement
New Delhi, Aug 20: The Supreme Court has assured advocate, Prashant Bhushan that if any punishment is inflicted for contempt, it would be done only his review is decided
The court also assured Bhushan that it would not do anything that will impair his right to review.
Prashant Bhushan then read to the SC a prepared statement in which he refused to apologise. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said I do not ask for mercy. I do not ask for magnanimity. I shall submit cheerfully to whatever punishment the court imposes on me lawfully.
Bhushan also said that his relationship with the court was neither of a courtier or a cheerleader but an officer of the court. He also said that he has fought cases for the public interest at some personal and professional cost. My tweets were not done in a fit of absent-mindedness. My expressions are permissible before any democracy.
Justice Mishra remarked that doing good things is welcome. We appreciate all those efforts. But why is balancing. If you do not balance your comments, you will destroy the institution. We do not punish for contempt so easily. Balancing has to be there, restraint has to be there. There is a Lakshman Rekha for everything. Why should you cross the line, Justice Mishra also said.
When the Bench asked whether they should give Bhushan time to reflect on his statement, Attorney General K K Venugopal said that he should be. He has done a tremendous amount of public good. You have held him guilty for contempt, but do not punish him, the AG also said.
The Bench then asked Bhushan to reconsider his statement observing that it could be very lenient only if the person concerned showed a sense of remorse. The Bench has asked him to respond in two days.
The SC today took up the sentence hearing in the case after it had last week held Bhushan guilty of contempt.
The case concerns Bhushan's comments on the judiciary during an interview to the Tehelka magazine in 2009.
The contempt case was taken on the basis of a complaint by senior advocate Harish Salve. This was in relation to a 2009 interview given by Bhushan to the Tehelka magazine.