Prashant Bhushan likely to suffer penalties under the charges of contempt

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Prashant Bhushan likely to suffer penalties under the charges of contempt

Prashant Bhushan fined by SC

Monday, 31st August 2020

Charges of contempt has been brought against Prashant Bhushan, well known Lawyer-activist who is said to have criticized SA Bobde, Chief Justice of India and the highest court of the country Supreme Court has fined him an amount of Rs 1 for the same. If he fails to pay the penalty by the 15th of September, he might be jailed for at least 3 months or may be stopped from practicing his profession for a minimum of 3 years.


"Freedom of speech cannot be curtailed," said the Supreme Court while handing down the sentence, referring to "sane advice" said KK Venugopal (Attorney General) to Prashant Bhushan as well as to the court.


Also, the court commented, "We gave several opportunities to (Prashant Bhushan) to express regret."


Prashant Bhushan however wasn’t ready to withdraw his comment or to apologise, saying that he believed it to be the execution of the "highest duty" he has been entrusted with and an apology on his part would imply contempt of conscience as well as that of the court. Open, relentless criticism, he believes, was needed in order to "safeguard the democracy and its values," adding that he will be accepting punishment cheerfully.


The Supreme Court, the country’s apex court, had asked for an unconditional apology, stating that the freedom of speech cannot be absolute. "You may do hundreds of good things, but that doesn't give you a license to do ten crimes," the court stated.


KK Venugopal, the Attorney General, stated in the previous hearing that the court should let Mr Bhushan off post a warning. "Bhushan's tweets seek the improvement of the administration of justice... Let democracy follow in this case when he has exercised his free speech... It will be tremendously appreciated if the court leaves it at that," said Venugopal.


Rajeev Dhavan, Mr. Bhushan's counsel had argued, saying that the order of Supreme Court allotting him time for the unconditional apology was but "an exercise in coercion". Mr Bhushan should be forgiven with a message he said, arguing: "One cannot be silenced forever... A message that he (Prashan Bhushan) should be little restrained in future should be enough."


In a tweet Prashant Bhushan had commented that four of the Chief Justices of India had played a definite part in destroying the country’s democracy in the past six years. In a different tweet while commenting on one of the snaps of Chief Justice Bobde on Harley Davidson the previous month, Mr. Bhushan had pointed out that Bobde was going without face mask and helmet himself even when he was trying to keep the court under lockdown and deny the citizens their major right to justice.


Previously, too Mr. Bhushan had showed off his regret in a different contempt case that involved his statement made to the Tehelka magazine in the year 2009. In the statement it was said that ½ of the 16 India Chief Justices were quite corrupt. Use of the word ‘corruption, as informed by him to the court, was made in "wide sense meaning lack of propriety" and it did not stand for financial corruption. The Supreme Court of India says that it wishes to find out whether such corruption charges be brought against the sitting as well as retired judges and also the way to tackle such things.



Source: NDTV

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