Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari and Dushyant Dave, Rajeev Dhavan, KKV
Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari and Dushyant Dave, Rajeev Dhavan, KKV

"Let us leave it for the future to see what history shows": 15 exchanges during the Prashant Bhushan hearing before the Supreme Court

Aditya AK

The Supreme Court today granted Advocate Prashant Bhushan time to reconsider his statement made in response to the Supreme Court verdict holding him guilty of contempt for his tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and the judiciary.

During today's sentencing hearing, the Court's August 14 judgment holding Bhushan guilty of contempt came under the scanner, with Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave, Rajeev Dhavan, and even Attorney General KK Venugopal batting for Bhushan.

Here are 15 significant statements made by the lawyers and the Bench during the hearing.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave

"If that (conviction judgment) is reviewed, then sentencing will become infructuous…Heavens are not going to fall if the sentencing is deferred till the review is decided. It is not provided in the law that it has to be decided by the same Bench."

"Review can be filed within 30 days. Let the impression not go that review will not be filed till Justice Mishra retires."

Dave reacting to Justice Gavai's concern that the review petition would be filed after Justice Mishra's retirement

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan

"I am not in support of this deferment. I just want to say, at the Bar, we take our judges as they come, we don't go Bench hunting. It is immaterial if a judge is retiring."

"Nature of the offence also has to be considered. There is already a lot of public discussion on the working of the judiciary in recent times."

"I say this with the deepest respect, but when your Lordships' 14th August judgment reaches top institutions, it will be heavily criticised. About 20 pages is a clear cut and paste from Vijay Kurle case."

Rajeev Dhavan

"The objective of the Court is not to arrive at a finding that the statement is "scurrilous" etc. But, it has to be shown that such statements have a substantial interference in the functioning of the justice delivery system...how can a lawyer's tweet about CJI not wearing a mask affect the functioning of the Court?"

"Are they in contempt too?"

Dhavan, pointing out that former judges and lawyers were in support of Bhushan's sentiment

The Court

"You want us to balance, the Court is for balance. If we don't balance, the whole institution will be destroyed."

"In my entire judicial career, I have never held any one person guilty of contempt."

Justice Arun Mishra

"We can be lenient when the contemnor realises his mistake and apologises. Just because you have done good work does not mean your wrong can be overlooked."

"In the event we decide to impose any kind of punishment, we assure you that it won't be in operation till the review is decided. Don't worry, we will be fair to you... Even if you are not fair to us."

"All this is not necessary. Let us leave it for the future to see what history shows. Let us not predict, we are not astrologers."

Justice Mishra, after Dhavan expressed concerns on the last six years of the history of the Court.

Prashant Bhushan

"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's statement

"The statement I made was a well thought out and considered statement. It is unlikely that there will be a substantial change in my statement."

Attorney General KK Venugopal

"I have a list of nine Judges who had said that there is corruption in the higher levels of the judiciary. I had myself said in 1987..."

AG Venugopal, urging the Court to not take action against Bhushan

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