Prashant Bhushan, a legal activist who was found guilty of criminal contempt by the top court of the country, after much ‘Gandhigiri’, decided to cough up the Re. 1/- token fine imposed on him as a fine for the contempt. Bhushan, despite claiming that apologising to the court for an opinion he held would be a ‘contempt of conscience’ for him, he did not hesitate from ‘gratefully’ accepting the fine which he was asked to cough up. Having been exposed by the top court as a duplicitous man who preferred paying a token fine instead of going to jail for his ‘principles’, Bhushan now stares at the prospect of losing his license.
The threat of punitive action being taken by the Delhi Bar Council, upon the instructions of the Bar Council of India (BCI) looms large over the activist, to the extent that the contemptuous man might even be losing his licence. The BCI—which regulates the legal profession in India—has directed the Bar Council of Delhi to “examine” the Supreme Court’s decision convicting Bhushan of contempt of court and proceed as per law and laid out rules “as expeditiously as possible”.
As reported by The Tribune, “The Council is of the view that the tweets and statements made by Shri Prashant Bhushan, Advocate and the Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India needs thorough study and examination by the Bar Council in the light of the statutory duties, powers and functions conferred on it under the Advocates’ Act, 1961 and the rules framed thereunder, particularly, Section-24A and Section-35 of the Advocates Act, 1961 and Chapter-II, Part-VI of Bar Council of India Rules,” BCI Secretary Srimanto Sen said on Friday.
It is pertinent to note here that section 24A speaks of disqualification from enrolment, while section 35 confers upon the BCI the powers to initiate disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct. While Prashant Bhushan might have been left off the hook by the Supreme Court easily, the BCI seems in no mood to let contemptuous advocates remain under its umbrella.
In one of the tweets, Bhushan had said, ‘four previous Chief Justices of India played a role in destroying democracy in the country since 2014.’ Another tweet was a reaction to a photo of Chief Justice Bobde on a Harley Davidson, where Bhushan had remarked, ‘he was without a helmet and face mask while keeping the court in lockdown and denying citizens their right to justice.’