Prashant Bhushan Agrees to Pay a 1 Rupee Fine out of Respect for the Court
The activist lawyer was asked to pay a 1 rupee fine or serve a 3-month jail term in connection with his controversial tweets.
Supreme Court penalizes Mr Bhushan with a token 1 rupee fine
The Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the suo moto contempt case against Mr Prashant Bhushan on Monday. Mr Bhushan was asked to deposit a fine of Re 1 with the Supreme Court registry by September 15. In case of default in depositing the token fine, he faced 3-month sentencing and a 3-year ban from practicing in the Supreme Court.
While delivering the judgment, Justice Mishra reiterated his point by saying,
"Judges are not supposed to go to the press, their comments outside the Court should not have been relied on".
The Court was of the view that Mr Bhushan's act of publicizing his contempt case in the media further contributed to lowering the dignity of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the public. Addressing the ongoing contentious debate around freedom of speech, the Court observed that freedom of speech cannot be curtailed but the rights of others need to be respected.
It is pertinent to note that the Bench gave enough opportunities to Mr Bhushan to express regret and apologize but the latter stood firm in his criticism of the Apex Court. Mr Bhushan believed that it would be insincere to apologize for his bona fide views.
If the Court wins, everyone wins: Prashant Bhushan
Mr Bhushan was quick to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision. He considered obeying the Court’s decision his highest duty as a citizen of this country. Mr Bhushan reaffirmed his respect for the top Court of this country by calling it the 'last bastion of hope particularly for the weak, and the oppressed who knock at its door for the protection of their rights, often against a powerful executive". He once again defended his tweets by advocating the need to have a constructive dialogue so that the judiciary does not weaken and keeps functioning independently.
Contempt case, a watershed movement towards judicial accountability
Mr Bhushan expressed his gratitude towards everyone who supported him in his beliefs which led to strengthening his cause. In fact, he received unprecedented support from his colleagues, politicians, social activists, bar associations, and the citizens of this country. Seeing the way this case has shaped up, he reposed his faith in the judicial process and felt that this case will inspire people to stand up and speak against the prevailing injustices in society.
Mr Bhushan reserves his right to seek a review of the Supreme Court’s Judgement
Mr Bhushan posted a tweet thanking his lawyer, Mr Rajeev Dhavan for contributing Rupee 1 towards paying off the fine imposed by the Supreme Court. However, he made it clear that he will seek a review of the Supreme Court's judgment.
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