Sentencing today, no apology, says Prashant Bhushan

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NEW DELHI: Ahead of the

Supreme Court

’s hearing on Tuesday to determine the quantum of sentence after finding

Prashant Bhushan guilty

of contempt for “false and malicious” tweets, the activist-advocate on Monday again refused to apologise and told the apex court that his “contemptuous” remarks were meant to arrest the court’s drift from its role as protector of people’s rights.

Responding to the Supreme Court’s August 20 order giving him time till Tuesday to “submit unconditional apology, if he so desires” before the hearing on sentencing, the activist-advocate said the tweets were expressions of his belief as well as bona fide opinions, which at best could amount to constructive criticism meant to convey to the court not to deviate from its sterling record.

“If I retract a statement before this court that I otherwise believe to be true or offer an insincere apology, that in my eyes would amount to contempt of my conscience and of an institution that I hold in highest esteem,”

Prashant Bhushan

said, living up to his August 20 promise to the Supreme Court that there would be no substantial change in the tone, tenor and content of his unapologetic statement made that day.

In a 435-word statement filed through advocate Kamini Jaiswal, he said, “Today, in these troubling times, the hopes of the people of India vest in this court to ensure the rule of law and the Constitution and not an untrammelled rule of the executive. This casts a duty, especially for an officer of this court like myself, to speak up when I believe there is a deviation from its sterling record.

“Therefore, I expressed myself in good faith, not to malign the Supreme Court or any particular chief justice but to offer constructive criticism so that the court can arrest any drift away from its long-standing role as a guardian of the Constitution and custodian of peoples’ rights.”

He even faulted the bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari for failing to factually record what he told the court on August 20. “It is with deep regret th

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