Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, found guilty of criminal contempt for two tweets, on Monday said that he will respectfully pay the fine of Re 1 imposed by the Supreme Court of India. Today's is the original order of SC and there is no appeal provided against this. "When the criticism turns into malicious and scandalous allegations thereby tending to undermine the confidence of the public and the institution as a whole, such a criticism can not be ignored", the top court said.
In the previous hearing, he had refused to apologize in the Supreme Court, after which the court had asked his lawyer to advise on what punishment should be given to him.
In June, Bhushan tweeted a photograph of the chief justice posing on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle without a face mask or a helmet and accused him of "denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice" while the court's work was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had said that several sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts (former) have commented upon corruption in the higher judiciary and suggested to let Bhushan go with a warning if he expresses regret for his remarks.
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On Sunday, he wrote to the Presidents of Supreme Court Bar Association and Confederation of Indian Bar expressing his thanks for extending an invite to him. He was given time by the court and asked to consider offering an unconditional apology.
Bhushan had submitted a stated to the court that the "two tweets represented" his "bonafide beliefs" and that he did not want to apologise for the same.
"They strengthen my hope that this trial drew the country's attention to the cause of freedom of speech and judicial accountability and reforms". This case has become a watershed movement for freedom of speech and has encouraged people to stand up and speak about the injustices in the society.
"This issue was never about me versus the Honourable Judges, much less about me vs the Supreme Court. Long live democracy! Satyameva Jayate", he concluded.