Statement by Prashant Bhushan in response to the sentencing order in the Suo motu contempt case

Statement by Prashant Bhushan in response to the sentencing order in
the Suo motu contempt case
31st Augsut 2020
The Supreme Court of India has announced its verdict on the contempt case
against me. It holds me guilty of contempt of court and has decided to
impose a fine of Re 1, and failing that imprisonment of three months and
debarring me from practicing for three years. I had already said in my 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”.
Therefore, while I reserve the right to seek a review of the conviction and
sentencing, by way of an appropriate legal remedy, 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.
I have had the greatest respect for the institution of the Supreme Court. I
have 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. 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. This issue was never about me versus the
Hon’ble Judges, much less about me vs the Supreme Court. When the
Supreme Court of India wins, every Indian wins. Every Indian wants a
strong and independent judiciary. Obviously if the courts get weakened, it
weakens the republic and harms every citizen.
I am 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.
I would be failing in my duty if I do not thank my legal team, especially
senior Advocates Dr Rajeev Dhawan and Shri Dushyant Dave. I am more
confident now than ever before that truth shall prevail.
Long live democracy! Satyameva Jayate!

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