Noted Indian advocate Prashant Bhushan refused to apologise to the country's top court for his allegedly "derogatory" statements against Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and the judiciary as the time the court gave him to reconsider his statements ended on Monday.
Defending his "bona fide belief" Bhushan maintained in the court that, "an insincere apology would amount to the contempt of my conscience and of an institution".
The lawyer is likely to face imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of $26 (INR 2,000). He maintained that it's his duty to point out any deviation of the court from its "sterling" record.
The controversy dates back to this June when Bhushan commented on Chief Justice Bobde's viral picture in which he was seen posing on a Harley Davidson bike.
In his tweet, Bhushan had said, "CJI rides a INR 5 million ($66,860) motorcycle belonging to a Bharatiya Janaa Party leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the Supreme Court in lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice!"
While in another tweet targeting the judiciary, Bhushan said: "When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the Supreme Court in this destruction, & more particularly the role of the last 4 CJIs."
Issuing the advocate a notice in late July for his tweets, the Supreme Court said he had undermined the authority of the judiciary and the chief justice before the general public. He was held guilty of criminal contempt on 14 August.