Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Contempt case: Bhushan files statement, says not ready to apologise

New Delhi: Advocate Prashant Bhushan has filed his supplementary statement before the Supreme Court in the suo motu criminal contempt proceedings initiated against him, refusing to tender an unconditional apology. He has stated that he cannot offer an insincere apology, as that would amount to the contempt of his conscience and of the institution that he holds in highest esteem.

Bhushan has expressed regret towards the court’s order of August 20, asking him to reconsider his statements made before the court and submit an unconditional apology. 

He has said that while it has been a “privilege” for him to have “served the Supreme Court and bring several important public interest causes before it,” he “lives with the realization” that he has “received from this institution much more than he had the opportunity to give” it, and therefore has the “highest regard for the institution.” 

“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,” he said. 

Prashant Bhushan

Bhushan states that in these troubling times today, the hopes of the people of India vest in the Supreme Court to ensure the rule of law and the Constitution and not an untrammeled rule of the executive which casts a duty, on an officer of this court like him, to speak up, when he believes there is a deviation from its sterling record. 

According to Bhushan, he expressed himself 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.” His tweets “represented this bonafide belief” that he continues to hold, and Public expression of these beliefs was in line with his higher obligations as a citizen and a loyal officer of this court. 

Refusing to give an unconditional apology, he states that an apology for expression of his beliefs, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere as apology cannot be a mere incantation and must be sincerely made. 

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According to Bhushan, he has made the statements bonafide and pleaded truths with full details, which have not been dealt with by the Court and if he retracts a statement before this court that he otherwise believes to be true or offers an insincere apology, then that would amount to the contempt of his conscience and of an institution that he holds in highest esteem.

– India Legal Bureau


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