File Photo
File Photo

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of India told Prashant Bhushan’s advocate Dushyant Dave that no punishment will be activated until the review is decided.

The SC refused Prashant Bhushan’s plea to defer the hearing on his sentence till his review petition against conviction of criminal contempt is filed and decided, saying that the judgement is only complete after the sentence.

Justice Misha told Dushyant Dave: “In the event we impose any punishment, we assure you that it will not be activated until the review is decided. We will be fair to you, whether or not you are fair to us': Justice Mishra tells Dave.”

Meanwhile, Justice Gavai said that there shouldn’t be an impression that there was an effort to avoid the bench of Justice Mishra to which Dave urged that the matter of punishment should be considered by a different bench.

This led Justice Mishra to point out that it was never done like that.

Justice Mishra says that it is never done like that.

Meanwhile, in a statement, quoted by Live Law, Bhushan submitted: “I am pained at the verdict that the Court held me guilty. I am pained that I am grossly misunderstood. I am shocked that the court concluded at the conclusion without providing any evidence about my motives. I am pained and shocked that the Court did not provide me with the complaint on the basis of which the contempt was taken. I am dismayed that the Court did not consider my reply affidavit. I believe that open criticism is necessary in any democracy to safeguard the constitutional order. Saving the constitutional order should come about personal or professional interests. My tweets were a small attempt to discharge what I consider my highest duty.”

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Bhushan said: “I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal for magnanimity. I cheerfully submit to any punishment that court may impose.”

He also called his tweet a ‘bona fide attempt to discharge his duty as a citizen’.

He added: “My tweets were out of a bona fide attempt to discharge my duty as a citizen. I would have been failing in my duty if I did not speak up at this juncture of history. I submit to any penalty which the court may inflict. It would be contemptuous on my part to offer apology.”

Citizens slams critics of Bhushan judgement

A group of citizens comprising retired judges and bureaucrats, has slammed those criticising the Supreme Court's conviction of lawyer Prashant Bhushan in a contempt of court case, accusing them of using every opportunity to strike at the roots of democratic institutions like Parliament, Election Commission and the apex court.

"We are deeply concerned by statements by a group of persons who wrongly claim themselves to solely represent the civil society and use every opportunity to strike at the roots of Indian democratic institutions such as Parliament, Election Commission of India, and now, the Supreme Court of India," the group said in a statement.

The group had also submitted a petition to President Ram Nath Kovind on July 30, which stated that "stray groups with hidden political agendas" and claiming to be the sole custodians of Constitution and democracy, cannot be allowed to denigrate democratic institutions, especially the apex court.

More than 100 signatories to the statement included former Mumbai High Court chief justice K R Vyas, former Sikkim HC chief justice Permod Kohli, former petroleum secretary Saurabh Chandra and former Punjab DGP P C Dogra.

They noted that Bhushan is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, and 'contempt of court' cannot be justified by any "pressure group".

"The legal profession is a solemn and serious occupation, with constitutional, professional and ethical obligations. Any violation of the principles of professional ethics by an advocate is unfortunate and unacceptable," the group said.

772 lawyers write on attempt to browbeating judiciary

A group of 772 lawyers have written to Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde, raising concerns about an emerging trend to "browbeat and intimidate the judiciary".

"India has witnessed a series of attacks by institutional disruptors against judges who are unwilling to agree with them and toe the line drawn by them. It is unfortunate that when political ends of lawyers are not served by a decision of the court, they vilify the court by making scandalising remarks. The Supreme Court of India, as well as the judges, are subject to both scurrilous language, malicious attacks and scandalising remarks," the lawyers said in the letter which comes against the backdrop of the Prashant Bhushan case.

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Free Press Journal