With the Supreme Court putting its foot down by refusing to accept lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan’s explanation and regret over his comments in an interview in 2009, the war between the bench and activists is only likely to intensify.
In his controversial comments, Bhushan had said that eight of the previous 16 Chief Justices were corrupt.
With the firm stand by the SC, the 11-year-old contempt case against Prashant Bhushan will continue, the Supreme Court said. The bench has posted the matter for hearing next Monday.
The Supreme Court also said it needed to check whether ‘corrupt Chief Justices’ remark amounts to contempt of court, reported major news TV channels like Republic TV, Times Now and India Today.
On August 4, the Supreme Court had told Bhushan and Tarun Tejpal, then editor of the magazine, that it would hear the case against them if it does not accept their “explanation” or “apology” in the case.
In November 2009, the apex court had issued a contempt notice to Bhushan and Tejpal for allegedly casting aspersions on some sitting and former top court judges in an interview in 2009
During the last hearing on August 4, the bench told senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Bhushan, that freedom of speech and expression and contempt of court are two different issues.
In a statement, Prashant Bhushan had then said he used the word corruption in a wide sense meaning lack of propriety. “I did not mean only financial corruption or deriving any pecuniary advantage. If what I have said caused hurt to any of them or to their families in any way, I regret the same,” he had said.
But the Supreme Court was not impressed with this explanation.