Former Army Chief V K Singh on Monday tendered an "unconditional apology" to the Supreme Court for making certain remarks on its order on his age row, saying he had no intention to bring disrepute to the institution and judges, who are like "demigods".
Singh, who was rapped by the court for "scandalising" the court and attributing motives to its verdict, said he has "highest respect" for the judiciary, particularly the apex court.
"I have the highest respect for the judiciary particularly this Hon'ble court. Inspite of occasional criticism reported in isolated cases, I firmly believe that the judges are Demigods compared to other departments of our public life.
"To attribute unworthy or illegitimate motives to the judges who dealt with my withdrawn petition on February 10, 2012 was far from my mind. I hold them in high respect and I hereby tender an unqualified apology if unwittingly due to erroneous reporting of my words I have created an impression of making some objectionable imputation.
"I admit that it is possible though highly improbable that in the long interview of 20 minutes I may have used some inappropriate ambiguous expression," Singh said in his reply to the contempt notice filed through advocate Prabhjit Jauhar.
The apex court had on October 1 issued notice to Singh after taking suo motu cognisance of his remarks against its order on his age row published on September 22, saying it prima facie amounts to "scandalising" and undermining the authority of the court.
Singh, 63, who served the army for 42 years, said his petition was withdrawn by his counsel on February 10, 2012 due to "technical difficulty".
"It was explained to me by my counsel. I am on the contrary truly grateful to this Hon'ble court for the contents of the order of this court," Singh said adding that he never had reason to complain about the judgement.
"I had acted on my intelligent appreciation of my counsel's advice before the withdrawal. If I was angry I would not have waited for 1 year and 7 months to make my grievance about the judgment.
"I have been harassed by the Press after the withdrawal of my petition and for 19 months I never thought of making an imputation. This should convince that my apology and the contents are genuine," Singh said.
He said reference may be made to the Hindi version of his interview in which the correspondent reminded him that there has been a hostile atmosphere against him continuously for long time starting with the dispute about his age.
The correspondent then asked no question about the judgement nor even a remote reference to it but only enquired why are there so many controversies about a retired general.
"It was in answer to this question which was mercifully the last question of the interview conducted in an informal place, the house of my relative where I was caught hold of by a bold and aggressive correspondent.
"Reading my answer in Hindi it refers to the reasons for the hostility against me. I explained that I was fighting corruption and the corrupt. Of course I did say that matriculation certificate has been relied upon in more serious cases even in the Supreme Court. I never said that the hostile lobbies were working on the judges.
"I have only emphasised that I have enemies in the department who did not like my anger, contempt and the actions against the corrupt. It may be that if I had been extremely careful this possibility of misunderstanding could have been avoided," Singh said.
The former army chief said he was even thinking of resigning after withdrawing his petition in the apex court. "I must point out that after two days of the withdrawal of my petition I went out of India on an official tour. I was away for a week. Even before leaving for London I went for my official duties to Jaipur. I was thinking of resigning at that time but I did not.
"Throughout the period after the withdrawal, I have been busy among other things, with writing my autobiography which was eventually published on November 5,2013. In it I have referred to the age controversy but I have not said one word against this Court.
"I am presenting the copies for the perusal of the court on the date of hearing. It is significant that the book was written, completed and handed over to the publisher long before the interview in question though formally released on November 5, 2013," Singh said.