Bhushan defends remarks that led to contempt proceedings

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 3

Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan has defended his controversial statements that led to the Supreme Court initiating contempt of courtroom proceedings in opposition to him, saying “power of contempt can’t be used to stifle bona fide criticism from citizens”.

A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had on July 22 issued notices to Bhushan and Twitter for his tweets allegedly scandalising the judiciary. Two days later, it additionally determined to renew listening to in one other contempt of courtroom case in opposition to him pending since 2009. The two circumstances are listed for listening to on August four and 5.

In an affidavit filed in response to the contempt discover, Bhushan questioned the highest courtroom for being a “mute spectator” in the course of the latest Delhi riots.

“When the Delhi riots were unleashed, with daily videos emerging of mobs tearing down and burning mosques, the police force systematically destroying public CCTVs, taking an active part in stone-throwing, massive firing and deaths, blockades of a hospital to prevent assistance to severely wounded Muslims, etc the Supreme Court remained a mute spectator, while Delhi burnt,” Bhushan submitted.

He stood by each his tweets cited by the courtroom and refused to tender an apology for his feedback at the same time as he expressed remorse for a factual mistake.

“I admit that I did not notice that the bike was on a stand and therefore wearing a helmet was not required. I therefore regret that part of my tweet. However, I stand by the remaining part of what I have stated in my tweet,” Bhushan acknowledged in his affidavit.

Bhushan had on June 29 tweeted, “CJI rides a Rs 50 lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan, Nagpur, without a mask or helmet at a time when he keeps the SC in lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice!”

In one other tweet on June 27, he had mentioned, “When historians in 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 Supreme Court in this destruction and more particularly the role of the last four CJIs.” He cited public statements of Supreme Court Judge DY Chandrachud and former SC judges Deepak Gupta and Kurian Joseph on free speech and dissent to justify his important remarks.

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