New Delhi: Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, held guilty of contempt for his tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and the Supreme Court, has refused to retract or apologise as the three-day time window given by the court expired today. He tweets represented a bonafide belief that he holds and an apology, conditional or unconditional, would be insincere, Mr Bhushan told the court.
“If I retract a statement before this court that I otherwise believe to be true offer an insincere apology, that in my eyes would amount to the contempt of my conscience and of an institution I hold in highest esteem,” Mr Bhushan told the three-judge bench hearing the case.
At the last hearing on Thursday, the court had sought an unconditional apology and gave the 63-year-old a few days to “reconsider” his statement.
“Don’t just apply legal brain here,” Justice Arun Kumar Mishra, who led the bench, had told Mr Bhushan, commenting that he had not convicted anyone of contempt in 24 years as a judge.
“I may reconsider it if my lordships want but there won’t be any substantial change. I don’t want to waste my lordships’ time. I will consult my lawyer,” Mr Bhushan had responded.
Mr Bhushan had contended that he considered his tweets the “discharge of highest duty” and that open criticism is necessary to “safeguard the democracy and its values”.