Prashant Bhushan rejects Supreme Court's offer to delay sentence but is given two to three days to reconsider statement
- Activist and lawyer
Prashant Bhushanhas rejected the Supreme Court's offer to delay the verdict on the Twitter case against him by another two to three days.
- Bhushan told the bench that he does not wish to reconsider his statement or issue an apology.
- The Supreme Court also rejected Bhushan's plea to defer the hearing in order to file a review plea against the verdict.
- The Attorney General asked the bench to not punish Bhushan at all.
- The bench asserted that it is not possible until Bhushan changes his stance and apologises.
- Has been given another two to three days to reconsider his statement.
AdvertisementActivist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan has been in a spot of trouble after two of his tweets made headlines for criticising the judiciary and the Chief Justice of India. India's top court ruled his comments to be in contempt of the court and rejected Bhushan's plea to defer the hearing in order to file a review against the verdict delivered on August 14. However, it also offered Bhushan two to three days to reconsider his position before rolling out the sentence — an offer that Bhushan refused but one that will be upheld nonetheless.
The Attorney General (AG) told the judges that it would be tremendously helpful if Bhushan was given some time. However, Bushan responded saying that he doesn't believe time will change where he stands on the issue. "Statement I made was well thought out. It is unlikely that there will be any substantial change in my statement," he said.
"As regards to giving time, I don't think it will serve any purpose," he added. Nonetheless, the court has deferred sentencing by another two to three days.
The AG subsequently requested for Bhushan to not be punished at all. However, the court maintained that it cannot consider that request until Bhushan reconsiders his earlier stance and apologises for the tweets.
Supreme Court rejects Bhushan's plea
The Supreme Court also refused Bhushan's plea to defer the hearing that will decide his judgement. According to Justice BR Gavai, Bhushan can file a plea to review the case regardless of whether a sentence is delivered today or not.
“Even if we punish you, it won’t be activated until the decision on review. We’ll be fair to you. We feel you are trying to avoid this bench,” said the Supreme Court in its decision as Bhushan's representation, Dushyant Dave, pushed for the matter of punishment to be considered by a different set of judges.
Sentencing Prashant Bhushan for critical tweets
In rolling out its sentence in the case against Bhushan and his tweets, which were critical of India's judicial system, the bench noted that it has taken Bhushan's contributions — pro bono cases — into consideration. However, it added, "The fact you are doing many good things does not mean that your wrongs can be neutralised."
The AG pointed out that he has a list of five Supreme Court judges saying that democracy has failed within the system. He also has extracts of statements from retired judges that can attest that there was corruption in higher in the judiciary.
AdvertisementLarge questions of the 2009
The Supreme Court said it would consider certain larger questions in the 2009 contempt case against Prashant Bhushan and journalist
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it would like to hear the counsels on whether such statements can be made and the procedure to be adopted for dealing with them.
The apex court in November 2009, had issued a contempt notice to Bhushan and Tejpal for allegedly casting aspersions on some sitting and former top court judges in an interview to a news magazine, Tehelka. Tejpal was the editor of the magazine.
Bhushan told the court on Sunday that making corruption charges against the judges would not amount to contempt of court and mere utterance of corruption charge could not be contempt of court.
The top court asked senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Bhushan,
The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and
Sibal, appearing for Tarun Tejpal, said the matter should be given quietus (discharged). The bench said that even the court wants to give the case a quietus but it there are certain questions which need consideration.
(With PTI inputs)
Tweets criticising India's Supreme Court get tagged as 'hate speech' and incur the judge's wrath — Twitter caught in the crossfire
Supreme Court wields the ‘iron hand’ in holding Prashant Bhushan guilty for tweets critical of judiciary and chief justice
2009 Prashant Bhushan contempt case back in the spotlight as Supreme Court poses new questions
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