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New Delhi, August 25, 2020
Advocate Prashant Bhushan in his written submissions to the Supreme Court on Monday has said that there should not be any attempt to coerce him into making an apology and asked the court to recall its August 14 judgement holding him guilty of contempt of court as similar statements were made by retired judges and others.
Bhushan said, "In the present controversy, similar comments were made by Justices Lokur, Kurian Joseph, A.P. Shah, Arun Shourie and others in the public domain and were reported by the newspapers and TV. It would follow that they were all in contempt."
The apex court is scheduled to take up the sentencing of Bhushan in the contempt case today.
"There should not be any attempt to coerce the contemnor into making an apology on the basis that nothing else would be acceptable," added Bhushan.
The written submissions were made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan on the sentencing of Bhushan in the contempt case.
Bhushan insisted that his comments were opinions made in good faith founded on true facts and similar opinions were expressed before as demonstrated by Attorney General K. K. Venugopal.
On August 20, the Supreme Court gave Bhushan time till August 24 to submit an unconditional apology and asked him to reconsider his defiant statement declining to apologise for his derogatory tweets against the judiciary.
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari said, "Appeal filed against the Registrar's order is dismissed. Arguments have been heard in the main matter on sentencing. Order reserved. We have given time to the contemnor (Bhushan) to submit an unconditional apology, if he so desires. Let it be filed by August 24. In case apology is submitted, the case to be posted for consideration on the same on August 25."
Attorney General Venugopal urged the apex court that convicting Bhushan in a contempt case was alright, but "do not punish him".
The bench replied to Venugopal that the tone, tenor and content of Bhushan's statement made it worse, saying, "Is it defence or aggravation, you as A-G consider it."
Venugopal clarified that he was not speaking on behalf of the Government of India but had responded to the notice issued to the Constitutional office of the Attorney General of India.
He insisted, "I make the request to your lordships not to punish him."
The top court said a person should realise his mistake from the core of his heart.