Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan has been held guilty of contempt for his two tweets on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and the Supreme Court. Sentencing is on August 20. A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari delivered the verdict on Mr Bhushan’s tweets.
Mr Bhushan said he was exercising his freedom of speech and giving his opinion about the functioning of the court, and it does not amount to “obstruction of justice”, necessitating the contempt proceedings.
However, Mr Bhushan in an affidavit on August 3 had said he regretted only a “part of” what he tweeted and asserted that criticism of the top judge “does not scandalise” the court or lower its authority.
“To bona fide critique the actions of a Chief Justice or a succession of Chief Justices cannot and does not scandalise the court, nor does it lower the authority of the court,” Mr Bhushan’s affidavit said.
“What I have tweeted is thus my bonafide impression about the manner and functioning of the Supreme Court in the past years and especially about the role of the last four Chief Justices have played vis a vis their role in being a check and balance on the powers of the executive, their role in ensuring that the supreme court functions in a transparent and accountable manner and was constrained to say that they, contributed to undermining democracy,” the affidavit said.