Mr. Rebates

Friday, November 12, 2010

Prefer jail to apology, ex-minister tells court

Nov 11, 2010

New Delhi, Nov. 10: Former law minister Shanti Bhushan today told the Supreme Court he would rather “go to jail” for contempt of court than say sorry for his comment on corruption in the judiciary.

The statement came at a hearing of a contempt case against his son, activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, whose sweeping remarks about corruption among judges in a magazine interview had prompted the charge.

“A lot of people believe there is lot of corruption in the judiciary,” Bhushan senior, who had impleaded himself in the petition, said. “I would prefer to go to jail than say sorry. I will keep repeating it. There is no question of any apology,” he told the bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir.

Asked to clarify if he was speaking for his son, he said: “I am speaking for both.”
In the interview, Prashant Bhushan had made adverse comments against Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, then next in line to be the CJI, for ignoring potential conflict of interest and awarding mining leases to a company in which he held some shares.

On November 6 last year, the court issued contempt notices against the lawyer, who has been spearheading a campaign for making the judiciary more transparent and accountable.

The lawyer, who is represented by Ram Jethmalani, chose to stay away from the proceedings. The next hearing is on December 7.

Earlier, Rajeev Dhavan, lawyer for Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal whose magazine published the lawyer’s remarks, angered the court saying there was “no doubt there is corruption in the judiciary”.
“Don’t make sweeping statements,” Justice Kabir snapped.

“I will say it properly if I can,” Dhavan retorted.
“Propriety demands that you do,” the judge said.

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