A supplementary affidavit has been filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan before the Supreme Court with respect to the statements made by him over Twitter wherein he refused to tender an apology in connection to his tweets remarking on the functioning of the Supreme Court as well as the CJI.
Pashant Bhushan refuses to apologize
Bhushan expressed that a “constructive criticism” of the Court was given through his remarks and therefore, retracting the same would amount to tendering an “insincere apology”.
As an officer of the court, when he believes that the Judicial institution is deviating from its sterling record, he has a duty to “speak up”.
“Therefore I expressed myself in good faith, not to malign the Supreme Court or any particular Chief Justice, but to offer constructive criticism so that the court can arrest any drift away from its long-standing role as a guardian of the Constitution and custodian of peoples’ rights.”
He expressed that bonafide remarks with full details have been presented which sadly has “not been dealt with by the Court”.
Prashant Bhushan declining to tender an apology said,
“My tweets represented this bonafide belief that I continue to hold. Public expression of these beliefs was I believe, in line with my higher obligations as a citizen and a loyal officer of this court. Therefore, an apology for expression of these beliefs, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere.”
Advocate Kamini Jaiswal through the affidavit filed read,
“This is especially so when I have made the statements bonafide and pleaded truths with full details, which have not been dealt with by the Court. 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. I believe that the Supreme Court is the last bastion of hope for the protection of fundamental rights, the watchdog institutions and indeed for constitutional democracy itself. It has rightly been called the most powerful court in the democratic world, and often an exemplar for courts across the globe. Today in these troubling times, the hopes of the people of India vest in this Court to ensure the rule of law and the Constitution and not an untrammelled rule of the executive.”
On August 20, the SC had asked Prashant Bhushan to reconsider his statements to which he had replied,
“I have never stood on ceremony when it comes to offering an apology for any mistake or wrongdoing on my part. It has been a privilege for me to have served this institution and bring several important public interest causes before it. I live with the realization that I have received from this institution much more than I have had the opportunity to give it. I cannot but have the highest regard for the institution of the Supreme Court.”
A 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court had held Bhushan guilty of contempt of court on August 14 for his tweets against the SC and the Chief Justices of India
On August 20, Prashant Bhushan during the hearing on the sentence, made a statement justifying his comments and expressed dismay at the Court verdict.
“My tweets were nothing but a small attempt to discharge what I considered to be my 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. Therefore, 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.”
The matter has now been posted for hearing on August 25.