Contempt case: Supreme Court fines Prashant Bhushan Re 1, Else 3 months jail
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Aug 31, 2020, 12:41 pm
The Supreme Court on Monday in its judgment in the controversial contempt case imposed a fine of Re 1 on activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan for his tweets against the top court and Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde. A three-judge bench in its judgment said that Bhushan will go to jail for three months and be banned from practicing for three years in case he fails to make the payment.
The Apex Court held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt of court on August 14 and said that his allegations in his tweets against the court and the CJI are hostile in nature. The court further stated that his tweets did not rely on evidence and were of the intention to create scandal about the court and weaken the judiciary's foundation.
Mr Bhushan was given time to "think over" after the Supreme Court had asked him to apologize for his tweets. In a statement on August 24, the reputed lawyer-activist said that his views expressed in his tweets represented his bona fide (good faith) beliefs and, therefore, an apology would only make him to be insincere.
"An apology cannot be a mere incantation and any apology has to be sincerely made. 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 the contempt of my conscience and of an institution that I hold in highest esteem," he said. Attorney General KK Venugopal had made an appeal to the court to not impose a punishment on Mr Bhushan and requested he be let off with a warning, which the court refused to do so unless he were to tender an apology.
On June 27, Mr Bhushan tweeted that historians will look into the Supreme Court's role in playing a part in the destruction of the Indian democracy. "When historians in the future look back at the last six years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal Emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the SC in this destruction, and more particularly the role of the last four CJIs", he said on Twitter.
In another tweet on June 29, Mr Bhushan shared a photograph of CJI Bobde sitting on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with the caption, "The CJI rides a Rs 50-lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan, Nagpur, without wearing a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC on lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice!"