New Delhi: Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said on Monday that he would pay the token fine of Rs one imposed by Supreme Court in a contempt case even though he reserved the right to seek a review of the conviction and sentencing.
“I propose to submit myself to this order and will respectfully pay the fine, just as I would have submitted to any other lawful punishment,” he stated after the Apex Court’s verdict today.
The Apex Court held Bhushan guilty of contempt of court and has decided to impose a fine of Re 1, failing which he would be imprisoned for three months and debarring from practicing as lawyer for three years.
Bhushan made it clear that he is extremely grateful and humbled by the solidarity and support expressed by countless persons, ex-judges, lawyers, activists and fellow citizens who encouraged me to remain firm and true to my beliefs and conscience.
They strengthen my hope that this trial may draw the country’s attention to the cause of freedom of speech and judicial accountability and reform. What is very heartening is that this case has become a watershed moment for freedom of speech and seems to have encouraged many people to stand up and speak out against the injustices in our society, he said.
Bhushan said that he had already said in his first statement to the Court: “I am here to cheerfully submit to any penalty that can lawfully be inflicted upon me for what the Court has determined to be an offence, and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen”.
Bhushan further went on to say that he has the greatest respect for the institution of the Supreme Court. He has always believed it to be 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 stated.
My tweets were not intended in any way to disrespect the Supreme Court or the judiciary as a whole, but were merely meant to express my anguish, at what I felt, was a deviation from its sterling past record, he said.
This issue was never about me versus the Judges, much less about me vs the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court of India wins, every Indian wins, Bhushan said.
Every Indian wants a strong and independent judiciary. Obviously if the courts get weakened, it weakens the republic and harms every citizen, Bhushan said in a statement after the apex court verdict.