Bhushan apologises for Harley tweet featuring CJI Bobde, but stands by rest of his posts

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File image of Prashant Bhushan | Commons

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New Delhi: Advocate and activist Prashant Bhushan Monday apologised for a portion of his tweet on Chief Justice of India (CJI) S.A. Bobde, even as he stood by the rest of his tweets on Bobde and former CJIs that had invited a contempt notice from the Supreme Court.

Apologising for his 29 June tweet featuring a photograph of CJI Bobde “riding” a Harley Davidson bike, Bhushan said he regrets mentioning that the CJI was not wearing a helmet as he had not noticed that the bike was stationary.

“At the outset I admit that I did not notice that the bike was on a stand and therefore wearing a helmet was not required. I therefore regret that part of my tweet,” he stated in an affidavit he filed in response to the contempt notice the Supreme Court had issued against him on 22 July. 

About his other tweets, however, Bhushan said they were his “bonafide impression about the manner and functioning of the Supreme Court in the past years”. 

He reiterated his criticism over the restricted functioning of the Supreme Court during the lockdown and pandemic, and said bonafide critique of the actions of the CJI cannot and does not scandalise the court.  

The tweets, he clarified in his affidavit, were in “no way intended to undermine the dignity of the court or the office of the Chief justice of India”.  

There is a need to have a free and frank discussion about the role of any and every institution, especially an institution as critical as the Supreme Court, Bhushan asserted. People can and may disagree with his “bonafide opinion”, a sign of healthy democracy, he said. 

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