Prashant Bhushan, activist, and the senior lawyer was held guilty of contempt against the supreme court following his tweets on twitter. According to Bushan the tweets were an attempt to practice his freedom of speech by actively engaging in criticism of justice in the country.
In today’s hearing, a bench headed by Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai, and Krishna Murar the apex court has decided to allow the 63-year-old lawyer to reconsider his statement.
In response to the court’s verdict, Bhushan refused saying, “I don’t want to reconsider the statement. As regards giving time, I don’t think it will serve any useful purpose.”
Regardless, they decided to allow Bhushan the time to reconsider his statements alleging an “attack” on the apex court before a final verdict is given on the case.
In response the decision Bhushan replied, “I may reconsider it if my lordships want but there won’t be any substantial change. I don’t want to waste my lordships’ time. I will consult my lawyer.”
Justice Arun Kumar Mishra in response to Bhushan’s statement said, “You better reconsider it… don’t just apply legal brain here.”
While Bhushan argued his defense by saying he time won’t change his finding, The judge said that Bhushan’s pro bono work was admirable and would work in his favour during sentencing.
The court had informed that the right to freedom of speech is “not absolute to anyone”. He emphasized that being an activist does not give you the right to cross the line which Bhushan has allegedly crossed.
Prashant Bhushan had earlier requested another bench to hear his arguments regarding the sentencing. His plea was however rejected. The court had said, “You are asking us to commit an act of impropriety that arguments on sentencing should be heard by another bench,” in response to his plea.
Prashant Bhushan’s statement in response to his hearing informed that he was ” shocked that the court holds me guilty of “malicious, scurrilous, calculated attack” on the institution of administration of justice. I am dismayed that the Court has arrived at this conclusion without providing any evidence of my motives to launch such an attack,”
“I am pained that I have been held guilty of committing contempt of the Court whose majesty I have tried to uphold – not as a courtier or cheerleader but as a humble guard – for over three decades, at some personal and professional cost. I am pained, not because I may be punished, but because I have been grossly misunderstood,” Bhushan added.
He further said that he was “disappointed” that the court had not even served him a copy of the complaint at the basis of which the suo-motu notice was issued.