Advocate Prashant Bhushan has contended that corruption in the judiciary does not mean monetary gratification alone but includes other offences such as fraud, abuse of discretion and favouritism, and that alleging graft cannot be contempt of court “per se”.
Bhushan on Saturday released to the media the written submission he is to make before a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra on Monday in a case of criminal contempt against him for claiming in an interview in 2009 that “half of the 16 former CJIs were corrupt”.
The same bench convicted Bhushan last week of criminal contempt for a tweet each on the destruction of democracy and the current Chief Justice of India.
The apex court is to pronounce the quantum of punishment in the tweets case on August 20.
In his written response in connection with the contempt proceedings against him for alleging corruption, Bhushan has contended that several former judges and former CJIs too have in various media interviews spoken about corruption in the judiciary, and so he cannot be hauled up for raising the issue.
Bhushan has stated in his submission: “Corruption in public life has a wide and expansive definition. Corruption is not restricted to pecuniary gratification alone but various instruments identify its particular forms such as bribery, embezzlement, theft, fraud, extortion, abuse of discretion, favouritism, nepotism, clientelism, conduct creating or exploiting conflicting interests.”
Bhushan has added: “The factum of corruption in the judiciary has been stated in parliamentary committee reports on prevention of corruption, has been commented upon by former judges of this Hon’ble Court, has been taken note of in various judgements….”