[Breaking] Supreme Court to deliver its verdict on Prashant Bhushan's sentencing on Monday, August 31
Litigation News

[Breaking] Supreme Court to deliver its verdict on Prashant Bhushan's sentencing on Monday, August 31

The Court had held Advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of Court on August 14 and had reserved its verdict on quantum of his punishment on August 25 after Bhushan refused to tender an unconditional apology.

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court will on Monday, August 31, deliver its verdict on the quantum of punishment to be meted out to Advocate Prashant Bhushan after his conviction for contempt of court.

The judgment will be delivered by a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.

The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had reserved its judgment on Bhushan's sentencing on August 25 after hearing Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhavan and Attorney General KK Venugopal at length.

Justice Mishra is slated to retire from office on September 2.

Bhushan had filed a supplementary statement reiterating his position to stand by his tweets. He refused to apologize for the tweets for which he was held to be in contempt for. When this supplementary statement was considered by the Court, Dhavan had urged the Court not to make Bhushan a martyr by imprisoning him.

Dhavan urged the Court to send out a general message, as opposed to the submission made by Attorney General KK Venugopal, who proposed that Bhushan be let off with a warning or reprimand.

Dhavan, who was representing Bhushan, argued that when a person is indicted for contempt, he has a right to present a defence and that an apology cannot be coerced from a contemnor. AG Venugopal, on the other hand, had requested the Court to let Bhushan off suggesting that Bhushan may express regret and withdraw the affidavit that was filed by him in his defence which names a plethora of Judges, both sitting and retired.

The Court however pointed out to AG that Bhushan did not express regret but instead chose to reiterate his position of not apologising for the contentious tweets. In a candid dialogue that followed between the Bench and the Lawyers present in the hearing, the Court expressed the "hurt" and the "pain" caused to the institution when such allegations are made.

Justice Mishra, who presided over the Bench and is set to retire soon, said that the only way Judges can communicate is through their judgments and when allegations are made against the Judges, it is the duty of the Bar to stand up for the Judiciary and the institution. While the Court faces criticism from many sections of the society and people, its is the allegations made by people of Bhushan's stature that carry immense weight.

With these parting remarks, the Court had reserved its judgment.

The two tweets in question were posted in June this year. The first tweet pertained to Bhushan’s commentary on a picture of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on a high-end motorcycle, whereas in the second, Bhushan expressed his opinion on the role of last four CJIs amid the state of affairs in the country.

The Court had initially fixed August 20 as the day for determining the sentence to be imposed on Bhushan. However, the Court deferred the matter further to August 25 after the August 20 hearing, to give Bhushan another chance to tender an unconditional apology. Bhushan instead filed his supplementary statement and the effect of the same was considered by the Court and then judgement reserved.

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