Supreme Court reserves verdict on sentence against Prashant Bhushan over his tweets

Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan appearing for Prashant Bhushan said that court should not punish Bhushan and make a martyr of him. He suggested that the court should close the case after issuing a general direction that Bar should be restrained while criticising the court.

Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on the sentence to be awarded to lawyer Prashant Bhushan for his tweets criticising the top court and Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

A three judge bench headed by justice Arun Mishra said that while the court welcomes fair criticism, those who criticise courts should not attribute motives to judges.

“We tolerate fair criticism and welcome it. But we cannot go to press to defend ourselves. I have never gone to press. We are bound by an oath,” Mishra said.

Justice Mishra also said that lawyers and judges are part of the same institution and should work together to ensure that dignity of the institution is not compromised.

“You (lawyers) are part of the system. We are not separate from the Bar. We (judges) have also come from the Bar,” he said.

Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan appearing for Bhushan said that court should not punish Bhushan and make a martyr of him. He suggested that the court should close the case after issuing a general direction that Bar should be restrained while criticising the court.

“ The effect of a punishment is it will make Prashant Bhushan a martyr. Do not make Prashant Bhushan a martyr. We don’t want this controversy to continue. This controversy will continue depending on the sentence that you give Bhushan,” Dhavan submitted.

Justice Mishra expressed his displeasure at lawyers going to the press in pending cases and also deprecated the practice of making allegations against retired judges.

“When lawyers go to the press or make statements (against judges) that is a problem. We cannot go to the press. How long can system suffer? Why is it that you can say anything against retired judges,” justice Mishra asked.

Earlier, Attorney General KK Venugopa had also requested the court to close the case against Bhushan after reprimanding him.

“Your lordships should warn him and tell him not to repeat it in future. But do not punish him,” Venugopal said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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