I do not ask for mercy, cheerfully submit to any penalty lawfully inflicted: Prashant Bhushan to SC
In his statement, the lawyer has expressed that he was pained at the Court’s August 14 verdict to hold him guilty of contempt because he has been grossly misunderstood
The Supreme Court's hearing on the question of sentence to be imposed on Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was earlier found guilty of contempt of Court, which is being held today saw a statement being read by Bhushan defending the tweets over which he was convicted.
In his statement, the lawyer has expressed that he was pained at the Court's August 14 verdict to hold him guilty of contempt because he has been grossly misunderstood, legal news website BarandBench.com has reported.
"I can only humbly paraphrase what the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi had said in his trial: I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal to magnanimity. I am here, therefore, to cheerfully submit to any penalty that can lawfully be inflicted upon me for what the Court has determined to be an offence, and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen," Prashant Bhushan said.
Bhushan has expressed that he is shocked that the Court found him guilty of a “malicious, scurrilous, calculated attack” on the institution of administration of justice. He adds that the Court arrived at this conclusion without showing any evidence of such motives to launch such an attack.
"I must confess that I am disappointed that the court did not find it necessary to serve me with a copy of the complaint on the basis of which the suo motu notice was issued, nor found it necessary to respond to the specific averments made by me in my reply affidavit or the many submissions of my counsel", he states further.
Moreover, Bhushan has stated that he finds it hard to believe that his contentious tweets, which triggered the contempt case, had the effect of destabilizing the Supreme Court. Rather, Bhushan reiterates that, "... these two tweets represented my bonafide beliefs, the expression of which must be permissible in any democracy. Indeed, public scrutiny is desirable for healthy functioning of judiciary itself. I believe that open criticism of any institution is necessary in a democracy, to safeguard the constitutional order."
He goes on to remark that in the present times, higher principles must trump routine obligations and that "saving the constitutional order must come before personal and professional niceties."
Considerations of the present must not come in the way of discharging our responsibility towards the future, Bhushan says.
He adds that, "Failing to speak up would have been a dereliction of duty, especially for an officer of the court like myself."
In this backdrop, Bhushan asserts that his tweets were only a "small attempt to discharge what I considered to be my highest duty at this juncture in the history of our republic."
"I did not tweet in a fit of absence mindedness. It would be insincere and contemptuous on my part to offer an apology for the tweets that expressed what was and continues to be my bonafide belief", Bhushan adds.
On August 14, the Court had found Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt of Court for two tweets criticising the judiciary.
(This is a developing story)