No apology for remark on chief justice: Prashant Bhushan

Senior counsel Prashant Bhushan said Thursday there “is no occasion or cause” for him to accept the Supreme Court’s suggestion that he apologise for calling Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia corrupt, a reference to the time when the judge was part of the forest bench deciding on a case of mining major Vedanta.

He turned down the suggestion that he should offer an apology along with an explanation of the context in which he said that the action of Justice Kapadia, in being part of the forest bench that decided on Vedanta, was corrupt. Bhushan told the court that he had had said whatever he had to say in his two-page statement submitted Thursday and would go no further.

“I have made a statement explaining that my remarks about Justice Kapadia were not meant to impute financial corruption or lack of integrity to him and that I have great regard for his integrity and character,” Bhushan told IANS.

“However, there is no occasion or cause for any apology on this issue.

“There is also no question of any apology on my remarks about half of the previous 16-17 (Supreme Court) chief justices being corrupt, which was my honest perception and in any case, also substantially true,” Bhushan added.

Appearing for Bhushan, senior counsel Ram Jethmalani said his client’s statement could not be read to say Justice Kapadia had got any pecuniary benefits. He told the court to accept the explanation as it was without insisting on an apology.

Justice Kapadia was part of a three-judge forest bench, which dealt with the Vedanta case, before he became chief justice. In an interview to Tehelka magazine, Bhushan had described as “corrupt” the presence of Justice Kapadia on the bench.

He said Justice Kapadia should have recused himself because he had investments in Vedanta.

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