Court room 4 of the Supreme Court today was privy to an intense hearing in the contempt of court case against advocate Prashant Bhushan..The heated exchange was pursuant to an application filed by Bhushan seeking the recusal of Justice Arun Mishra from hearing the case..Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing on behalf of Bhushan, contended that the law laid down by the Supreme Court on recusal postulates that a party can seek recusal of a judge if there is a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the judge from the persepctive of the litigant..“What is relevant is reasonableness of apprehension of bias of the judge in the mind of the party”, submitted Dave..He then pointed out instances of judgments passed by Justice Arun Mishra against Bhushan including the ones in the Sahara Birla case and the CJAR case and the recent observation made by him in a January 2019 judgment on lawyers criticising judges..“It is nothing personal. It is a bona fide request to send the matter to another Bench”, Dave said..Attorney General KK Venugopal, however, strongly argued against the recusal application, contending that it is an after thought and not bona fide..“I have serious apprehension about the bona fides of this application.”.He said that no objection regarding bias on the judges was raised by Bhushan when notice was issued in the contempt case, though he was present in the court. Subsequently, a recall application was filed, which also did not raise such an issue..“He did not raise it at three stages”, submitted AG Venugopal..The AG also made some strong remarks against Bhushan stating,.“There is another contempt case against him for saying half the CJIs of Supreme Court were corrupt. He said CJI Kapadia of all judges was corrupt in the Sterlite case..He has poisoned minds of public against me, the Central government and members of High Powered Committee (which approved the appointment of Nageswara Rao as interim CBI Director).”.Venugopal, however, maintained that he does not want any punishment for Bhushan..He also said that he had told Bhushan that if Bhushan was willing to accept that it was a genuine mistake, he was willing to withdraw the contempt application..“I met him outside CJI court and told him that if he has made a genuine mistake, he should admit it and I will withdraw the case. He refused.”.The AG also said that if Bhushan was alleging such criminality as he did in this case, he should have approached the Court instead of publishing it on social media..Subsequently, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was allowed to make submissions..Meanwhile, AG KK Venugopal and Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave had a discussion, after which the AG expressed his desire to withdraw the case against Bhushan..“He admits that it was a genuine mistake. I don’t want to continue the case against him”, Venugopal said..Justice Arun Mishra, however, was not willing to let things go..“The issue is troubling. We will decide the matter”, said Justice Mishra..AG KK Venugopal and Dushyant Dave then said that the case against Bhushan could be closed while the legal issue could be kept pending..“In a pending case, can a litigant go to the media when he could have come back to the court”, Mishra J. said suggesting that the same could be the issue which the court could decide..Despite repeated requests by Attorney General and Dushyant Dave to close the case against Bhushan and keep the legal issue open, the Court refused to pass an order to that effect..Justice Mishra then asked Dave whether Bhushan was willing to apologise unconditionally so that the recusal application could be disposed of..Dave said that he “unconditionally apologises on behalf of Bhushan”. Mishra J. was, however, not willing to let it go..“Let Mr. Bhushan say it”, said Mishra J..Bhushan then stepped forward and said that he made a genuine mistake but made it categorically clear that he will not apologise unconditionally..The Court recorded his statement and proceeded to post the matter for further hearing on March 29..Read the order below. .Bar & Bench is available on WhatsApp. For real time updates on stories, Click here to subscribe to our WhatsApp.