Will give Bhushan time to rethink assertion refusing to apologise for contemptuous tweets: SC

New Delhi, August 20

The Supreme Court on Thursday granted two days to activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has been held responsible of contempt, to rethink his ‘defiant assertion’ refusing to apologise for his contemptuous tweets towards the judiciary.

Bhushan instructed a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra that he would seek the advice of his attorneys and assume over the apex courtroom’s suggestion.

Attorney General KK Venugopal urged the bench, additionally comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, to not award any punishment to Bhushan within the contempt case saying he had already been convicted.

The bench mentioned it couldn’t think about the request of Venugopal except Bhushan reconsidered his earlier stand of not apologising for his tweets.

The tone, tenor and content material of Bhushan’s assertion made it worse; is it defence or aggravation, the courtroom instructed Venugopal.

The high courtroom mentioned it could possibly be very lenient if there’s realisation of mistake, and posted the matter for additional listening to on August 24.

At the outset, it rejected the submission of Bhushan’s counsel that one other bench hear the arguments on the quantum of sentence to be awarded within the case.

A contemnor will be punished with easy imprisonment of as much as six months or with a superb of as much as Rs 2,000 or with each.

The bench gave assurance to Bhushan that no punishment could be acted upon until his overview towards the order convicting him is set.

The bench instructed senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing Bhushan, that he’s asking them to commit an “act of impropriety” by saying that the argument on sentencing be heard by one other bench.

Justice Mishra mentioned he could be retiring quickly and adjournment shouldn’t be sought and the overview could be determined after this matter is set lastly.

The bench mentioned it isn’t inclined to listen to the appliance filed by Bhushan on Wednesday in search of deferment of listening to on the sentence until his overview petition is set.

At the outset, Dave sought deferment of listening to on the quantum of sentence within the case saying that he could be submitting a overview petition towards the conviction order. 

The high courtroom on August 14 held Bhushan responsible of felony contempt for his derogatory tweets towards the judiciary saying they may not be mentioned to be a good criticism of the functioning of the judiciary made within the public curiosity. 

During the listening to on Thursday, Dave instructed the bench that “heavens are not going to fall” if the apex courtroom will droop the listening to on quantum of sentence.

“You are asking us to commit an act of impropriety that arguments on sentencing should be heard by another bench,” the bench mentioned. It added: “Has it been ever done that hearing on sentencing has been undertaken by the other bench when the main bench is existing?”

The bench instructed the Attorney General that it could first hear Bhushan on the difficulty of sentencing. When Dave mentioned that Venugopal ought to be allowed to argue first, the bench mentioned, “Don’t remind us of the professional norms.”

Bhushan, who himself addressed the courtroom, mentioned he had been “grossly misunderstood”. 

“I am dismayed and disappointed that the court did not find it necessary to provide me the copy of the contempt petition,” he mentioned. “My tweets simply showed my bona fide belief.”

Bhushan mentioned that open criticism is important in democracy to safeguard the constitutional order. 

“My tweets were a small attempt to discharge what I consider my highest duty,” he mentioned.

“I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal for magnanimity. I cheerfully submit to any punishment that the court may impose,” mentioned Bhushan.

On August 14, in its 108-page verdict, the highest courtroom had mentioned: “The tweets that are based mostly on the distorted info, in our thought of view, quantity to committing felony contempt.

“In the result, we hold alleged contemnor No.1, Prashant Bhushan, guilty of having committed criminal contempt of this court.”

The high courtroom had, nonetheless, discharged the discover issued to Twitter Inc, California, US, within the contempt case after accepting its rationalization that it is just an middleman and doesn’t have any management on what the customers publish on the platform.

It had mentioned the corporate has additionally proven its bona fides instantly after the cognisance was taken by this courtroom because it had suspended each the tweets.

The high courtroom had analysed the 2 tweets of Bhushan posted on the micro-blogging website on June 27 on the functioning of judiciary up to now six years, and on July 22 with regard to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

“In our considered view, it cannot be said that the tweets can be said to be a fair criticism of the functioning of the judiciary, made bona fide in the public interest,” it had mentioned. PTI

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