Having refused to tender an apology for his comments on the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Sharad Bobde, laywer Prashant Bhushan is back in court. Speaking on Tuesday, Justice Arun Mishra had said that it was "painful" to read Bhushan's reply in justification of his tweets.
However, despite a lengthy interaction, the apex court eventually reserved judgement on the case. According to a tweet by Bar & Bench, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan had commented that punishing him would only serve to make him a martyr.
While Attorney General KK Venugopal had suggested that Bhushan be let go with a warning, advocate Dhavan who was appearing for Bhushan said that the idea of giving him time to apologise was not in keeping with norms. "This is not what the Supreme Court does - 'we give you so many days, tender an apology'. This is wrong jurisprudence, no court can pass an order like this", Bar and Bench quoted him as saying.
Incidentally, this is the second time the apex court has reserved judgement in the case. While the SC had found Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt, on August 14, the quantum of punishment had not been announced at the time. This was in connection with two recent tweets by Bhushan that criticised the court, one pertaining to a photo of Justice Bobde perched atop a Harley Davidson Limited edition CVO 2020. In the second post, he had weighed in on the role of the last four CJIs when it came to the state of affairs in the country.
While the court had been slated to announce the quantum of punishment earlier, it had given Bhushan an opportunity to tender an unconditional apology by August 24.
Following the initial verdict countless lawyers, politicians and other officials have criticised the situation. While some have held silent protests, others, including former High Court Chief Justices have written to the CJI over the same.
As Bhushan stayed determined to see the issue through without an apology, many had drawn parallels between him and freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi -- a comparison that the lawyer said was not quite accurate.
However, this is not the only case Bhushan is facing. More recently, on Tuesday the Supreme Court deferred the hearing on a 2009 contempt of court case, asking the CJI to place before an "appropriate" bench questions arising out of the matter. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra deferred the hearing in the case to September 10 as the Supreme Court judge is scheduled to demit office on September 2.