In the Absence of Apology, SC has no choice but to Punish Prashant Bhushan

It is a well-known fact that once a man rebuked Lord Denning by calling him ‘an old, bald fool’. When he (Denning) came out of the court, he was surrounded by some newspersons who asked him whether he was contemplating to initiate contempt proceeding against that person. He replied in a cool and composed manner by telling the press persons that there was no question of hauling him for the contempt of court because ‘ old I am’, ‘bald-headed I am’ so, there is nothing wrong in it. As far as the ‘fool’ is concerned, it is his perception about me.’ The person who said so about the celebrated judge was no less than the renowned journalist Michael Foot, who later became the leader of opposition in the British Parliament.
Lord Atkin, another great judge had in one of his judgments that ‘justice is not a cloistered virtue. She must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken comments of ordinary men’. There are some people, who want that contempt of court should be done away with but they forget that the fact if it is removed from the statute and from the Constitution (in the case of Supreme Court this power is vested in it under Article 129), then the judgments delivered by the courts will have no value. That is why no sane person will advocate for the annulling of this prerogative of the courts because that ensures the compliance of the judgments.
There have been many judges, who have expressed their resentment over the corruption in the judiciary. Talk to even any villager and he/she will narrate one or two instances of corruption in the judiciary. Retired Chief Justice Bharucha was on the record that a certain percentage of the higher judiciary was corrupt. Justice (retired) Markandey Katju had said in the open court that there was something rotten in the Allahabad High Court (paraphrasing William Shakespeare in the Hamlet). But it was a general observation and did pinpoint on any particular judge. For example, when one says or writes that politicians have become corrupt, it will not attract slander or libel but if it is said about any particular politician or the entire assembly or parliament, then it will certainly attract the defamation and contempt law.
Having said so, there is no gainsaying that in our country some people have made justice as their own handmaids. Prashant Bhushan is one of them. He thinks that he can defame, denounce, and decry the judges if they show the courage to go against him or deliver any judgment which is not liked by him or his coterie. He and his company never find legal or factual loopholes in the judgments, but they start the campaign to impeach the authority of the concerned judge(s). This provides him and his company the opportunity to blackmail and browbeat the entire judicial system.
Justice from the Supreme Court and its officers – judges and advocates both – are two different entities, although both are interdependent. But there are some people like Prashant
Bhushan, who think that they are the Supreme Court and that is the reason that he and his ilk has been treating the Supreme Court and other advocates with censorious contempt. Now when he has been found guilty of the contempt of the court, he and his gang have started maligning the judges, which is highly deplorable. If one dissects his views, statements and tweets, one will certainly come to an inescapable conclusion that all of them were scurrilous and aimed at making the fun of the judges and thereby creating the crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court and its judges.
Despite having been found guilty of the contempt of the court, the general feeling across the board is that he should not be punished. Look at the temerity of this gentleman that he wants to become a Gandhi by quoting Mahatma Gandhi. It is like a devil quoting the scriptures. My friend Advocate Asok Pande, who has himself faced many contempt proceedings says that once a person has been found guilty of the contempt of the court, he/she can escape punishment only tendering an unqualified apology. He is also of the opinion that the Attorney General should not have entreated the Supreme Court to let off Prashant Bhushan.
Now, therefore, there are only two choices left for the Supreme Court. One is to let him go free, provided he tenders unconditional apology as was very recently done by Rahul Gandhi in Rafael case or to punish him. Since Prashant Bhushan has adopted the high moral ground of a crusader and refused to apologize to the Court, then the only discretion left for the Court is to sentence him, which may be even the token punishment as was done in the case of Kalyan Singh and Arundhati Roy or punish him as was done in the case Justice (now retired) Karnan of Calcutta High Court.
let us see what sentence is awarded to him.