The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear lawyer Prashant Bhushan petition to defer the hearing on his sentence The apex court said that it will not hear the petition till Bhushan’s review petition against conviction for criminal contempt is filed and decided.The three-judge bench of justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari said that the judgement is complete only after the sentence. It gave assurance to Bhushan that no punishment will be acted upon till his review against the order convicting him in the case is decided.
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted two days to activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has been held guilty of contempt, to reconsider his ‘defiant statement’ refusing to apologise for his contemptuous tweets against the judiciary.Bhushan told a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra that he would consult his lawyers and think over the apex court’s suggestion.
Attorney General KK Venugopal urged the bench, also comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, not to award any punishment to Bhushan in the contempt case saying he had already been convicted.”There is no person on Earth who cannot commit a mistake. You may do hundreds good things but that doesn’t give you a license to do 10 crimes. Whatever has been done is done. But we want the person concerned to have a sense of remorse,” said Justice Arun Mishra.
Prashant Bhushan’s request to defer the hearing on his sentencing for contempt was rejected by the Supreme Court. “I am pained to hear that I am held guilty of contempt of court. I am pained not because of the would-be sentencing, but because I am being grossly misunderstood. I believe that an open criticism is necessary to safeguard the democracy and its values,” he said.
“My tweets need to be seen as an attempt for working for the betterment of the institution. My tweets, I consider, was discharge of my highest duty. Apologising would also be dereliction of my duty. I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal for magnanimity. I cheerfully submit to any punishment that court may impose,” he said.
Bhushan, after the Supreme Court rejected his plea that the arguments on quantum of sentence be heard by another top court bench, said his tweets were “nothing but a small attempt to discharge” what he considered to be his “highest duty at this juncture in the history of our republic.”
The top court on 14 August had held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt for his derogatory tweets against the judiciary saying they cannot be said to be a fair criticism of the functioning of the judiciary made in the public interest.