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SC gives Bhushan time to reconsider statement

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan to take “two or three days” to “reflect on”, and possibly modify, a statement that he read out to judges, in which he refused to apologise for his tweets.

One tweet was about a photograph of Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde astride a motorbike and another on how posterity would perceive the role played by the top court in the past six years.

On August 14, Mr. Bhushan was found guilty of contempt by scandalising the court.

The one-page order on Thursday said the hearing in the case had concluded and the court had reserved its decision on his sentence. It, however, gave Mr. Bhushan time till August 24 to submit an “unconditional apology, if he so desires”. The case would be posted on August 25 if an apology is submitted, it stated.

The three-judge virtual Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, wrapped up the oral arguments on Mr. Bhushan’s punishment.

Mr. Bhushan said he shall cheerfully submit to whatever punishment the court imposed on him. The tweets embodied his bona fide belief. It would be contemptuous on his part to apologise for something he believed in.

‘A humble guard’

The senior lawyer quoted Mahatma Gandhi asking for neither mercy nor magnanimity from judges. He said he was neither a cheerleader nor a courtier. He had, after all, served for 30 years as a humble guard of the court’s majesty.

But the Bench persisted, asking him to “think over” his statement. He politely agreed but observed that he may not at the end make any substantial changes in its text. “The statement I made is well thought-out and considered,” he submitted.